6.5 Case Assessment
The initial case assessment during intake may be the single most important step in the child support process. At this point, the application has been received and processed and all of the information has been entered into POSSE. Now, the case worker shall determine the next step for the child support case.
Once the application is received as described in 6.2 Applications and the POSSE case is created as shown in 6.3 POSSE Case, the case worker will initially assess the case for the next appropriate action within the Wyoming CSP.
The next appropriate action may be one of the following:
Redirection of Support; or
The first step in the initial assessment of the case is “locate.” In other words, does the case worker have enough information to locate the alleged father or non-custodial parent? The case worker will review the application and POSSE to ensure all information from the application is entered into POSSE. POSSE will access both state and federal databases to locate the alleged father or non-custodial parent.
If there is not enough information on the child support application (see DFS Form 543 for an example of the application), the case worker will contact the applicant for more information. This contact may include a phone call, office appointment, or letter whether written specifically for this applicant or generated by POSSE (e.g. the non-custodial parent quarterly questionnaire). In addition to the alleged father or non-custodial parent’s full name, other helpful locate information includes:
Social security number;
Date of birth or approximate age;
Place of birth;
Telephone number including cell phone;
Make, model and/or license number of any motor vehicle owned by the non-custodial parent; or
Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the alleged fathers or non-custodial parent’s parents or other relatives.
If a non-public assistance applicant does not provide a name for the alleged father, the case will be closed as there is not sufficient information to proceed. See Chapter 12 Closure for more details.
If a public assistance applicant does not provide a name for the alleged father, the case worker will conduct an “unknown” interview as required by federal regulation.
In the case of an applicant receiving public assistance requiring cooperation, the case worker will schedule an in-person interview with the applicant to review the child support application ( DFS Form 543) and complete the unknown interview form ( Unknown Interview Form). If an in-person interview is not possible, the case worker will conduct the interview over the phone.
If, after the interview, the applicant still cannot provide the information sufficient to identify an alleged father, then the case worker will close the child support case as discussed in Chapter 12 Closure and contact /the DFS Benefits Specialist and/or Department of Health that the child support case is closed and the cooperation status of the applicant as described in 6.2 Application.
Once the case worker has enough information to access both state and federal locate databases as described in Chapter 7 Locate, the next assessment step is to determine the appropriate case function – paternity establishment, order establishment, or enforcement.
In order to establish a child support order and enforce it, there shall be a legal duty or responsibility for the non-custodial parent to provide child and medical support for a child. If the application indicates an order exists, the legal responsibility, otherwise known as “paternity,” has already been established. If there is not an order, the case worker will determine if paternity has been established for the child.
Wyoming statutes set forth the requirements for paternity establishment in Wyoming. The case worker will determine if paternity has been established based upon the information in the application (See DFS Form 543) and may need to request further information/proof to establish paternity.
According to Wyoming statute, paternity may be established in one of the following ways:
1) Presumption of paternity;
a. Man and mother married and child born of the marriage.
b. Man and mother married and child born within 300 days of end of marriage.
c. Before the birth of the child, man and mother attempted to marry.
2) Valid paternity acknowledgment;
3) Adjudication; or
Proof of paternity is required before proceeding to the next step in the child support process. Proof may be found for each paternity establishment method utilizing the following table:
Table 1: Paternity Establishment & Proof
If the applicant did not provide the needed documentation to establish paternity, the case worker will request the proof. If the child was born in Wyoming, the case worker should follow the procedures described in Appendix 6.C – Vital Statistics Requests to request a birth verification or paternity acknowledgment. If the child was born outside of Wyoming, the case worker should ask the applicant to provide the birth certificate, paternity acknowledgment, paternity order, or adoption decree. At the same time, the case worker may also send a request to the other state for the documentation. See 11.2 Intergovernmental - Initiating Intergovernmental for more details.
If paternity is at issue, the case worker should ask the applicant to complete a Paternity Questionnaire. This form in conjunction with the child support application ( DFS Form 543) will help the case worker determine if Wyoming has jurisdiction to establish paternity or if another state has jurisdiction. 8.2 Establishment - Paternity Establishment provides details on how to establish paternity.
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 to support 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 (Discuss with the District CSE Attorney).
If paternity has been established, the District CSE Office will need to establish a child and medical support obligation for the non-custodial parent. See 8.3 Establishment - Child Support, 8.3 Establishment - Affidavit of Redirect, and 8.4 Establishment - Medical Support for more information on managing establishment cases.
Note: The Wyoming order will be enforced in the county within the judicial district that established the order. If the applicant lives in a different Wyoming county, the POSSE file will be mailed to the appropriate District CSE Office, and the case shipped on POSSE.
If an order has been established, the case worker will obtain a copy of the order to update POSSE (see 6.3 POSSE Case for details). The case worker will ask the applicant for a copy of the support order and may request one from the clerk of court in Wyoming or another state. The child and medical support obligations will be enforced as discussed in Chapter 9 Enforcement.
Based upon the information provided from the applicant and the data entered into POSSE during the intake process, POSSE will place the case in the appropriate case function. This will allow POSSE to ensure the case is meeting the federal timeframes discussed in 6.1 Intake Introduction and alert the case worker to any new information.
Last Revised Date
March 27, 2017