In Texas, a child’s mother and the man claiming to be the father may execute an acknowledgement of paternity that is then filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. A signed acknowledgement of paternity in Texas is a legal finding of paternity of the child equivalent to a judicial determination. See Tex. Fam Code Sec. 160.305(a).
In order for a father to rescind an acknowledgement of paternity, he must file an action to rescind the acknowledgement (or denial) no later than 60 days after the date the acknowledgement (or denial) is filed.
However, if a man signed an acknowledgement of paternity mistakenly believing himself to be the father, or if a presumed father signed a denial of paternity mistakenly believing that he was not the father, a suit to contest the acknowledgement that is not filed within the 60 day period may only be filed on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact and must be filed within four years.
Thus, this rule is harsh on a man who is told he is the father, signs an acknowledgement and later finds out he is not the father and the 60-day period has passed. (It is very similar to men who are the victims of paternity fraud.)
He then must prove fraud, duress or material mistake of fact, and it must be within the four-year statute of limitations. See Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 160.308.
Cordell and Cordell Family Law handles many domestic litigation issues, including paternity. Contact the Cordell & Cordell office nearest you or learn more information about paternity laws on DadsDivorce.com.
By Jennifer Hankinson
Mens Divorce Attorney, Cordell & Cordell