8. Establishment‎ > ‎

8.2 Paternity

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 302.31 Establishing paternity and securing support
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 Wyo. Stat. § 14-2-401 et seq. Parents
Wyo. Stat. § 20-4-142 Basis for jurisdiction over nonresident
Wyoming Child Support Enforcement Rules
Chapter 4 General Services
Wyoming Vital Records Services Rules
Chapter 3 Birth Registration
Chapter 4 Substitution of Birth Certificates
Policy Number Effective Date
8.2 October 1, 2010


This section contains the following sub-sections:

  • Presumption
  • Voluntary Acknowledgment
  • Genetic Testing
  • Adjudication
  • Disestablishment


Paternity establishment is the legal determination of fatherhood for a child born out of wedlock.  In order to best serve Wyoming CSE Program customers, paternity should always be established for children born out of wedlock.  Even if child and medical support are not at issue because the parents live together, paternity should be established for the following important reasons:

  • Identity – The alleged father’s name can be listed on the child’s birth certificate. This will help the child feel like he or she belongs to both parents. 
  • Relationship – A father-child relationship is important to a child. A child deserves to know and enjoy a father. This is easier if there is a legal father. 
  • Family Ties – The child may also come to know the father’s side of the family. This will help a child feel like he or she is a member of both parents’ families. 
  • Medical – A doctor may need to know the family medical histories of both parents in case a child has health problems. 
  • Insurance – A child may be able to get health insurance or medical support through the father’s employer, union, or military service. 
  • Dependent Benefits – If the father dies, the child may be eligible for Social Security, pensions, inheritance rights, veteran’s dependent benefits, and/or life insurance. 
  • Financial Support – Both parents are responsible for supporting their child. When paternity is legally established, a child will have the right to receive support from both the father and the mother. 

In the Wyoming CSE Program, paternity may be established in one of the following ways:

1) Unrebutted presumption of paternity (See 8.2.1 Paternity - Presumption for details);

2) Valid paternity acknowledgment (See 8.2.2 Paternity - Voluntary Acknowledgment for details); or

3) Adjudication (See 8.2.4 Paternity - Adjudication for details).

During case assessment, the case worker will determine if paternity is at issue.  See 6.5 Case Assessment for paternity proof determination steps and required documents.

While the Wyoming CSE Program recognizes paternity establishment based upon presumption, adoption, or assisted reproduction, the IV-D child support program facilitates paternity establishment through two of the following methods: (1) the voluntary paternity acknowledgment program and (2) adjudication.  

Unless paternity is established through the paternity acknowledgment process, paternity shall be established in Wyoming through the District Court.  Wyoming statutes provide the process the Wyoming CSE Program shall follow in order to legally establish paternity.  

Note:  The paternity establishment method needs to be documented in POSSE in accordance with Appendix 8.B – PEP Data Reliability Review, POSSE Release Notes 1792 – Born-out-of-wedlock flag, and POSSE Release Notes 1831 – State Where Paternity Established field.

The table below provides the paternity establishment methods along with the timeframes for establishment, rescission, challenge, or denial of paternity:

Table 1: Paternity Establishment & Timeframes

Establishment Method    


Marriage (all three presumptions) Date of birth of child  Denial of Paternity:  At the same time a man signs an acknowledgment of paternity as long as presumed father is not an acknowledged or adjudicated father
Rebutted:  Only through adjudication
 Paternity acknowledgment  When the acknowledgment is filed with Vital Statistics  Rescission: Within 60 days of the effective date of the acknowledgment, file a court action to rescind.
Challenge:  Limited circumstances based upon fraud, duress, or mistake of fact and barred after 2 years
 Adjudication Order for paternity signed by the District Judge filed with District Court  Presumed Father:  Commence a legal action within a reasonable time after obtaining knowledge but no later than 5 years after child’s birth unless parents neither cohabitated or had sexual intercourse and the presumed father never held child out as own
Acknowledged Father:  See above paternity acknowledgment
Adjudicated Father:  Within 2 years of the adjudication, a non-party to the adjudicated action may bring an action or within 2 years of obtaining information paternity is at issue, a party to the adjudication may bring an action to disestablish

Note: Paternity shall be established before child or medical support can be ordered by a Wyoming District Court.


If paternity is at issue, the case worker will determine if Wyoming has jurisdiction to establish paternity or if another state has jurisdiction.  According to statute, Wyoming has jurisdiction to establish paternity if the alleged father:

1) Is served within Wyoming; 

2) Submits to jurisdiction by general appearance or filing a responsive pleading;

3) Resided with the child in Wyoming;

4) Resided in Wyoming and provided prenatal expenses of support for the child;

5) Caused the child to reside in Wyoming;

6) Engaged in sexual intercourse with the mother in Wyoming and the child may have been conceived in Wyoming;

7) Asserted parentage; or

8) Any other constitutional basis for personal jurisdiction.


Venue describes the appropriate court to bring certain legal actions.  According to statute and if Wyoming has jurisdiction to establish paternity, a paternity action may be brought in District Court in the county where:

  • the child lives or is found;
  • the alleged father resides or is found if the child is not in Wyoming; or 
  • a proceeding for probate of the presumed or alleged father’s estate has been initiated.

Note: Full faith and credit shall be given to a determination of paternity made by any other State whether through a voluntary acknowledgment process or an administrative or judicial order.

Cross Reference

Version Number Last Revised Date
1 July 1, 2014