Honan v. Honan

In Honan v. Honan, 809 P.2d 783, 786-87 (Wyo. 1991), a wife filed for divorce and requested a hearing to determine temporary support and alimony. The husband failed to appear at the hearing and later failed to abide by the court's rulings made at the hearing. At a later contempt proceeding, the husband's counsel was present, but the husband again failed to personally appear, leading to the issuance of a bench warrant. The husband also did not appear at the time of the scheduled trial and, when his counsel requested to withdraw, the court granted that request. The court then proceeded with trial in the absence of the husband. The Court reversed the resultant judgment stating: "In this case, the husband suffered an injustice when the district court, in the husband's absence, allowed the attorney to withdraw because no one was present to represent the husband's interests. Those interests included an opportunity to challenge the contempt order and to make a formal request for a continuance. Thus, we hold that the district court abused its discretion when it permitted the husband's attorney to withdraw and then immediately proceeded with the trial in the absence of the husband. The husband is entitled to have a new trial after being given reasonable notice of the trial setting so that he may appear and defend through his attorney or pro se."