Program Operations Manual System (POMS)
TN 27 (12-00)
GN 00306.680 Wyoming Intestacy Laws
For purposes of intestate succession, a person born out-of-wedlock is a child of the mother. That person is also a child of the father, if the relationship of parent and child has been established through the Wyoming Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) (see B. - E. below).
Under the UPA, the paternity of the child may be established by court order before or after the father's death (for claims filed on or after 11/27/98, or pending on that date, SSA may make a paternity determination using a preponderance of the evidence standard; see D. below); or if one of the following presumptions of paternity applies to the father:
he and the child's natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, or divorce, or after a decree of separation is entered by a court;
before the child's birth, he and the child's natural mother attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid; and:
if the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, or divorce; or
if the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation; or
after the child's birth, he and the child's natural mother married or attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with the law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid; and
he is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by a court order; or
prior to 07/01/93, he has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the Wyoming office of vital records; or with his consent, he is named as the child's father on the child's BC; or
while the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child; or
from 07/01/93 through 06/30/2000*, with the consent of the mother, he has acknowledged his paternity by signing an affidavit of paternity and an acknowledgment of the privileges and obligations associated with parentage and filed these documents with the Wyoming office of vital records. The consent of the mother shall include an affidavit stating that she was not married at the time of conception or at the time of the birth of the child. The father's acknowledgment shall include a statement of the right to withdraw the affidavit of paternity on or before 60 days of the signing of the affidavit, or by the date of a judicial proceeding relating to the child in which the person signing the affidavit is a party. A minor's affidavit of paternity and acknowledgment shall also be signed by the legal guardian of the minor. (Prior to 07/01/97, the time allowed for withdrawing the affidavit was 90 days.)
* See E. below for provision effective 07/01/2000.
A presumption of paternity under the Wyoming UPA may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence. The Wyoming Supreme Court has defined "clear and convincing evidence" as "that kind of proof which would persuade a trier of fact [SSA] that the truth of the contention is highly probable." If there are two or more conflicting presumptions, the presumption that is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic (based on the facts) will be the controlling presumption. A presumption arising under paragraph B.1. through B.4. above is rebutted by a court decree establishing paternity of the child by another man. A presumption under paragraph B.5. above is not rebuttable if the person who signed the affidavit of paternity has not withdrawn it during the allowed period, unless (effective 07/01/97) that person proves that the affidavit was obtained as a result of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.
If there is no presumption of paternity, any evidence relevant to the issue of the child's paternity may be considered, using a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof, such as:
evidence of sexual intercourse between the mother and alleged father at any possible time of conception;
an expert's opinion concerning the statistical probability of the alleged father's paternity based upon the duration of the mother's pregnancy;
genetic test results weighted in accordance with evidence, if available, of the statistical probability of the alleged father's paternity. If guidance is needed on weighing the evidence, submit the case to the RCC per GN 01010.815 ff. The results of genetic tests have the following effects:
if the conclusion of all the experts who review the test results is that it is unlikely that the alleged parent is the parent of the child, the alleged parent is presumed not to be the parent. This presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence;
if the experts disagree in their findings or conclusions, the question of paternity is considered based on all of the evidence;
if the experts conclude that the genetic tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of the alleged parent's parentage is less than 97%, this evidence shall be weighed with other competent evidence;
if the experts conclude that the genetic tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of the alleged parent's parentage is 97% or higher, the alleged parent is presumed to be the parent. This presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence; or
medical or anthropological evidence relating to the alleged father's paternity of the child based on tests performed by experts (in the absence of a legal precedent opinion, submit case to the RCC per GN 01010.815 ff.).
NOTE: State law does not specify who may provide the blood or tissue samples used for genetic testing; rather, the emphasis is on the reliability of the test results. Therefore, if the wage earner/putative father is deceased and blood or tissue samples from him are not available, a court would likely rely on the results of genetic testing that used blood and tissue samples from members of the deceased wage earner's family.
Effective 07/01/2000, a man is considered (but not presumed) to be the natural father of a child born in Wyoming if, with the consent of the mother, he has acknowledged his paternity by signing an affidavit of paternity and an acknowledgment of the privileges and obligations associated with parentage and filed these documents with the Wyoming office of vital records. The required contents of the mother's consent and the father's affidavit are essentially the same as those stated in B.5. above. A withdrawal of the affidavit of paternity must be made by affidavit of at least one signatory of the affidavit of paternity, or if the parent is a minor, the minor parent and a legal guardian of the minor parent, filed with the Wyoming office of vital records. The withdrawal of the affidavit of paternity is valid only if it is filed on or before sixty days from the date the affidavit was signed, or by the date of a judicial proceeding relating to the child in which the signatory of the affidavit is a party, whichever occurs earlier.