There’s an old saying that one cannot be “a little bit pregnant.” That is to say, a person is either pregnant or she is not. Similarly, in a biological sense, a man is either the father of a child or he is not. Legally speaking however, things are a bit more complicated. For example, if a couple is married, any child born to a female partner is presumed to be the child of a legal husband, until that presumption is overcome by evidence. A non-married man may also be considered the father of a child if he has made an official acknowledgement of paternity, either at birth of subsequently. But what if he later decides he is wrong? Is it possible for a Texas ‘father’ to disavow the paternity of a child?
Under Texas law, it is possible to rescind acknowledgement of paternity, under certain limited circumstances. First, there is a time limitation. The rescission of a paternity acknowledgement must occur prior to the 61st day after the acknowledgement becomes effective, or before any proceeding involving the child is filed before a Texas family court, whichever comes first. This is true even if the action filed does not technically bring the matter of paternity into issue, such as an action for child support. So, first off, the latest any man will be able to rescind an acknowledgement of paternity is 60 days after the effective date of said acknowledgement.
Secondly, there are some formalities that have to be observed for such a rescission to be effective. The rescission must be effected by the filing of a form with the vital statistics office. This form must be sworn to, and the alleged father must sear that there is no pending action regarding the child, and that notice was sent of the rescission to the woman who signed the acknowledgement of paternity, as well as any individual who denied paternity based on the rescinding man’s acknowledgement. This notice needs to be sent by certified mail.
Just filing the rescission form may not end the matter, however. Any person who is affected by the rescission, as well as the state if it is involved in the care of the child, can contest the rescission of paternity in court by filing a petition for adjudication of paternity.