June 2023 | 2023 WY 72 (2023)

Tucker v. Tucker (Wyoming 2023)

Wyoming statute requires a child support order be based on specific financial information. This case has a long procedural history. The mother and father divorced and child support was ordered in the final decree. The State filed to modify support in 2017. The district court entered a temporary order modifying support in 2018. In 2021, the district court entered an order modifying support, and the mother appealed.

In 2022, the Wyoming Supreme Court reversed the order and remanded with instructions for the district court to consider how to calculate support considering the amount of time that had passed. Following the remand, both parents were ordered to submit updated financial information during a status hearing. The father failed to provide the documentation, and the mother filed for entry of default, which the court granted. The district court made the temporary order permanent. The father appealed.

He argued the district court didn’t have sufficient financial information to support the amount of support. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed. To establish or modify a support order, Wyoming statute requires specific information. The financial information can come from the Supreme Court approved financial affidavit, along with supporting documentation, or testimony taken during a hearing. The Supreme Court found the court didn’t have financial affidavits and hadn’t held a hearing. The findings didn’t indicate if the 2018 child support calculation still reflected the parties’ current incomes. The District Court abused its discretion in entering the order without additional financial information. Additionally, this case involved two procedural issues: the timing of the notice of appeal and the granting of the motion for default. The Supreme Court found the father filed a timely notice and that his procedural due process rights were violated when default was entered before the end of his response time.

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