8. Establishment‎ > ‎

8.2.4 Paternity - Adjudication


Chapter Federal Authority
Establishment Social Security Act
§454(20) State plan for child and spousal support
§466(a)(2), (c), and (d)Requirement of statutorily prescribed procedures to improve effectiveness of child support enforcement
§468 Encouragement of States to adopt simple civil process for voluntary acknowledging paternity and a civil procedure for establishing paternity in contested cases
45 CFR 303.5 Establishment of paternity
45 CFR 303.7 Provision of services in intergovernmental IV-D cases
45 CFR 303.101 Expedited processes
Subject State Authority
Paternity – Adjudication Wyo. Stat. § 14-2-801 et seq. Proceeding to adjudicate parentage
Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 4 Processed
Rule 55 Default
Wyoming Child Support Enforcement Rules
 Chapter 4 General Services
Wyoming Vital Records Services Rule
Chapter 4 Substitution of Birth Certificates
Policy Number Effective Date
8.2.4 October 1, 2010

Overview

In Wyoming, paternity actions are filed in a civil docket in a District Court and may only be tried in front of a District Court Judge, not a jury.  In order to establish paternity, the District CSE Office shall be prepared to provide the District Court with the following basic elements:

  • Legally sufficient information to establish paternity (e.g. a prima facie case) in the petition which may include:
    • the mother and alleged father engaged in sexual intercourse during the probable time of conception; and 
    • the alleged father is the father of the child.
  • The District Court shall have jurisdiction over the parties and venue as described in greater detail in 8.2 Paternity.
  • The paternity action shall be brought by someone or an entity with legal standing to do so.  In Wyoming, the District CSE Office has standing to initiate a paternity action.
  • The District CSE Office shall complete service of process as defined by the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure (WRCP).

Wyoming statutes also allow for either parent to request genetic testing to prove or disprove the paternity of a child as discussed in 8.2.3 Paternity - Genetic Testing.

Policy

In cases where the paternity of the child has not already been established or presumed, or when legal conflicts regarding paternity exist or potentially exist, paternity needs to be established through court action, or if appropriate in the case of a single alleged father, through voluntary acknowledgment as described in 8.2.2 Paternity – Voluntary Acknowledgment.

The following are situations when paternity establishment is necessary as defined by Wyoming statutes.  If there is/are,

  • An alleged father; 
  • Multiple alleged fathers;
  • Multiple presumed fathers – discuss the facts of the case with the District CSE Office Attorney;
  • A presumed father and an alleged father - discuss the facts of the case with the District CSE Office Attorney; or
  • An acknowledged father and a presumed father – discuss the facts of the case with the District CSE Office Attorney.

Please see Appendix 8.A – Paternity Establishment Legal Action Rules for a table with the appropriate legal action for each paternity option.

Once a Petition to Establish Paternity and Support is filed with the District Court, the paternity action may take one of several different avenues.  For purposes of the examples below, the term “alleged father” will be used in each situation (e.g. stipulation, contested case, etc.); however, any of the situations listed above could also fit into the options listed below.

Stipulation

If the mother and alleged father agree he is the father of the child, the case worker will draft a stipulation for the parties to sign indicating the alleged father is the biological father of the child.  The stipulation does not have any legal effect until filed with the District Court and ratified by an order approving the stipulation signed by the District Court Judge. In lieu of a stipulation and order, the case worker may also draft a stipulated order for the parties and District Court Judge to sign.

After genetic testing indicates the alleged father is the biological father as illustrated in 8.2.4 Paternity – Genetic Testing, the mother and alleged father may also stipulate to paternity as shown above.

In each instance described above, at the same time paternity is established, the stipulation and order signed by the District Court Judge will also address child and medical support as detailed in 8.3 Child Support and 8.4 Medical Support.

Contested Case

If the mother and alleged father do not agree that the alleged father is the biological father, either party may request genetic testing to prove or disprove paternity.  For more information about genetic testing, please see 8.2.4 Paternity – Genetic Testing.  If the genetic testing results indicate the alleged father is also the biological father, the mother and father may stipulate to paternity as discussed above and proceed to court only for the issues of child or medical support, visitation, or custody, or the parties may proceed to court to argue all issues.


Note:  
The District CSE Offices do not become involved in custody and visitation issues.

When the District Court Judge orders paternity, he or she will also address child and medical support as described in 8.3 Child Support and 8.4 Medical Support.

Temporary Order

If the genetic testing results indicate the alleged father is also the biological father, the District Court Judge may issue a temporary order establishing paternity and set a separate hearing for the contested issues of child or medical support, visitation, or custody.  

Default Order

In Wyoming, if the mother and alleged father are properly served according to the WRCP and either one does not appear at the hearing, the District CSE Attorney may request the District Court Judge enter a default order of paternity based upon Wyoming statutes and rules of civil procedure.  



Note:  
The District CSE Offices do not become involved in custody and visitation issues.

Special Circumstances

Unavailability of Alleged Father

If the alleged father is unavailable or deceased, genetic testing may still be used to determine the paternity of a child as long as the District CSE Office has access to the alleged father’s genetic material or the genetic material of his relatives.  The case worker will discuss cases where the alleged father is unavailable or deceased with the District CSE Office Attorney.

 GAL

The District Court Judge will appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) in the following circumstances:

  • The court finds the interests of the child are not represented; or
  • The mother or alleged father is a minor.

Intergovernmental Cases

The Uniform Intergovernmental Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides the Wyoming District Court with eight bases for jurisdiction over a non-resident alleged father.  See 8.2 Paternity for the list of the jurisdictional bases.  If Wyoming does not have jurisdiction over the alleged father and the alleged father is located in another State, the case worker will initiate the intergovernmental process as described in Chapter 11 Intergovernmental.

Tribal Cases

In order to ensure paternity is established in conjunction within the tribal culture of the Northern Arapahoe or Eastern Shoshone Tribes, the case worker will consult the District CSE Office Attorney and Chapter 16 Tribal IV-D before proceeding with paternity establishment.

Party Represented by an Attorney

If an attorney represents a case party, the District CSE Office will follow certain guidelines regarding release of information and communication with the party or attorney.  See 3.6 Confidentiality and Safeguarding Information – Release of Information and Appendix 8.E – Communication with Persons Represented by Counsel.



Version Number Last Revised Date
1 July 1, 2014