8.2.3 Paternity - Genetic Testing
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 requires each state to have laws in place to allow for genetic testing in contested paternity cases. The Wyoming CSE Program utilizes a sworn statement signed by a mother or alleged father to request genetic testing, and based upon the sworn statement, the District Court orders genetic testing.
When first developed, genetic testing results were questioned in court and required a strong foundation by the attorney to ensure the admissibility of the results. Now, federal and Wyoming law indicate genetic testing results are admissible without testimony unless an objection is made. The Wyoming CSE Program utilizes an accredited laboratory to conduct all genetic testing, and the laboratory performs the genetic testing in a manner considered reliable by accreditation bodies.
With the great strides in recent years of the accuracy of genetic testing, Wyoming adopted the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) along with its definition of probability. An alleged father is the father of the child if the genetic testing results indicate a probability of at least 99% and a paternity index of at least one hundred to one. A man may only rebut the 99% probability results by providing other genetic testing results from an accredited laboratory indicating the man is not the father or identifies another man as the possible father.
For the most part, the Wyoming CSP Program utilizes its genetic testing contract with an accredited laboratory for IV-D cases only; however, there are two other instances described below where the District CSP Office facilitates genetic testing. The Wyoming CSP will pay for the cost of genetic testing in all open IV-D Cases in which genetic testing is ordered by the court, including intergovernmental cases.
Based upon Wyoming law, the court shall order genetic testing for the child and the parties to the paternity case when the request is supported by a sworn statement of a party alleging or denying paternity, but may order testing upon a motion from the Department of Family Services.
Schedule Genetic Testing
The District CSP Office will schedule genetic testing for the child and parties. If one party lives in another Wyoming county or state, the District CSP office will work closely with the laboratory to schedule genetic testing near the residence or employer of the party.
Genetic Testing Results
When the District CSP Office receives genetic testing results, the District CSP Office will file the results with the District Court and mail copies to the parties.
Note: Genetic testing results will not be given over the phone.
If the alleged father is the biological father (e.g. the probability is at least 99%), the case worker will continue with the paternity action by either contacting the parties to stipulate to paternity along with child and medical support as described in 8.2.4 Paternity Adjudication, 8.3 Child Support, and 8.4 Medical Support or proceed to the scheduled court hearing.
If the alleged father is excluded by the genetic testing results as the father of the child, the case worker will indicate in the cover letter with the genetic testing results to the mother/applicant that she has 10 days to contact the case worker before the case worker drafts an Order of Non-Paternity and closes the child support case as discussed in more detail in Chapter 12 Closure. The case worker will contact the mother/applicant to complete another application as described in 6.2 Intake – Application and name another alleged father.
Finally, the case worker will update POSSE with the results of the genetic test and any actions taken.
Request to Establish Paternity Only
If a mother or alleged father requests services to establish paternity only, the requesting party will complete a sworn statement in support of genetic testing and provide a closure letter prior to the District CSP Office filing a petition. If the alleged father is the biological father, the District CSP Office will obtain an order establishing paternity. If the alleged father is not the biological father, the District CSP Office will file an Order of Non-Paternity. Upon entry of either order, the District CSP Office will close the child support case.
When a child is removed from a home and placed in out-of-home care by court order or through voluntary placement, DFS may request child support services which may include paternity establishment and genetic testing. DFS will determine if a child support referral is appropriate based upon DFS Policy 6.2 Child Support for Child in Out-of-Home Care.
There may also be instances in which DFS would like genetic testing even though the Wyoming CSE Program has already identified or established a legal father. DFS will proceed in the following way for the each scenario:
1) Termination of Parental Rights. DFS wants a genetic test to make sure all possible fathers are given notice of a Termination of Parental Rights.
Request goes to the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General's Office handles Termination of Parental Rights cases, and the Attorney General’s Office will know if the genetic test is necessary for proper notice.
2) Placement of a Child with a Family Member.
Request goes to the DFS state office. It is usually not necessary to have a genetic test for family placement. That is a DFS State Office determination.
3) Mother says the Legal Father is not the Real Father
Advise the DFS client that he/she needs private legal counsel. A genetic test does not disestablish legal paternity. This is a private legal issue.
CSP cannot disestablish legal paternity.
Consult Directive for Genetic Testing Requests dated July 2, 2008 for procedures for each scenario.
Private Attorney Cases
The District CSP Office may schedule courtesy genetic testing draws for private attorneys as long as the attorneys:
if appropriate, complete a child support application as described in 6.2 Intake – Application; and
provide a copy of an Order for Genetic Testing and a closure request to close the IV-D case once the genetic testing is completed.
Directive for Genetic Testing Requests dated July 2, 2008
Last Revised Date
April 29, 2020