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KES v. CAT

107 P.3d 779 (2005)

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KES v. CAT

Wyoming Supreme Court

107 P.3d 779 (2005)

Facts

In March 2000, Kes (plaintiff) and Cat (defendant) divorced. Kes was awarded custody of the couple’s eight-year-old daughter. By April 2001, Kes began suffering from bipolar disorder. Kes and Cat jointly petitioned for Cat to receive temporary custody. The petition was granted. By March 2002, Kes’s psychological health had stabilized, and she petitioned to regain custody. Shortly after Kes filed for custody, Cat reported for National Guard active duty. The district court granted Kes temporary custody but ordered that Cat would receive custody upon his return. Cat returned from active duty around June 2003. In August 2003, the district court held a formal hearing to determine permanent custody. Cat requested that the presiding judge conduct a private, in camera interview with the child to determine her custody preference. The motion was granted despite Kes’s objections. Following the interview, the district court awarded Cat custody. The judge noted that the child expressed a clear preference to live with Cat, his new wife, and his stepchildren. The judge also noted that the child was a mature 11-year-old who was competent to express her custody preference and that her preference must receive some deference. Kes appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Voigt, J.)

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