This section contains the following sub-sections:
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
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.
Last Revised Date
July 1, 2014