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Family Code - CHAPTER 160

CHAPTER 160. DETERMINATION OF PARENTAGE

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

160.001. Applicability

     This chapter governs a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which the parentage of the biological mother or biological father is:

     (1) sought to be adjudicated;

     (2) voluntarily admitted by the putative father; or

     (3) jointly acknowledged by the mother and putative father.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 36, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.002. Time in Which to Bring Suit to Determine Parentage

     (a) A suit affecting the parent-child relationship to determine parentage under Subchapter B may be brought before the birth of the child, but must be brought on or before the second anniversary of the date the child becomes an adult, or the suit is barred.

     (b) This section applies to a child for whom a parentage suit was brought but dismissed because a statute of limitations of less than 18 years was then in effect.

     (c) Repealed by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 81, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 81, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.003. Necessary Party: Representation of Child

     (a) The child is not a necessary party to a suit under this chapter.

     (b) It is rebuttably presumed in a trial on the merits before a judge or jury that the interests of the child will be adequately represented by the party bringing suit to determine parentage of the child. If the court finds that the interests of the child will not be adequately represented by a party to the suit or are adverse to that party, the court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the child.

     (c) The child shall be represented in a settlement agreement, dismissal, or nonsuit by a guardian ad litem or an attorney ad litem appointed by the court, unless the court finds on the record that the interests of the child will be adequately represented by a party to the suit or are not adverse to that party, and that the court approves the settlement agreement, dismissal, or nonsuit.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.004. Temporary Orders

     The court may render a temporary order authorized in a suit under this title, including an order for temporary support of a child, if the person ordered to pay support:

     (1) is a presumed parent under Chapter 151;

     (2) is an alleged father petitioning to have his paternity adjudicated or who admits paternity in pleadings filed with the court;

     (3) is found by the court at the pretrial conference authorized by this chapter not to be excluded as the biological father of the child, with the court finding that at least 99 percent of the male population is excluded from being the biological father of the child; or

     (4) executed a statement or acknowledgment of paternity under Subchapter C.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 36, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.005. Conservatorship, Support, and Payments

     (a) In a suit in which a determination of parentage is sought, the court may provide for the managing and possessory conservatorship and support of and access to the child.

     (b) On a finding of parentage, the court may order support retroactive to the time of the birth of the child and, on a proper showing, may order a party to pay an equitable portion of all prenatal and postnatal health care expenses of the mother and child.

     (c) In making an order for retroactive child support under this section, the court shall use the child support guidelines provided by Chapter 154 together with any relevant factors.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.006. Final Order Regarding Parentage

     (a) On a verdict of the jury, or on a finding of the court if there is no jury, the court shall render a final order declaring whether an alleged parent is the biological parent of the child.

     (b) The effect of an order declaring that an alleged parent is the biological parent of the child is to confirm or create the parent-child relationship between the parent and the child for all purposes.

     (c) If parentage is established, the order shall state the name of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.007. Suit Barred

     (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a suit under this chapter with respect to a child is barred if final judgment has been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction:

     (1) adjudicating a named individual to be the biological father of the child; or

     (2) terminating the parent-child relationship between the child and each living parent of the child; or

     (3) granting a petition for the adoption of the child.

     (b) During the pendency of an appeal or direct attack on a judgment described by Subsection (a), a suit under this chapter may be filed but shall, on motion of a party, be stayed pending the final disposition of the appeal or direct attack on the judgment.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

SUBCHAPTER B. PARENTAGE SUIT

160.101. Denial of Paternity

     (a) The presumption that a man is the biological father of a child under Chapter 151 may be contested by:

     (1) the biological mother of the child;

     (2) a person related within the second degree of consanguinity to the biological mother of the child, if the biological mother of the child is deceased;

     (3) a man presumed to be the father of the child, who may contest his own or another man's presumed paternity;

     (4) a man alleging himself to be the biological father of the child; or

     (5) a governmental entity, authorized agency, or a licensed child-placing agency.

     (b) A contest of paternity must be raised by an express statement denying paternity of the child in a party's pleadings in the suit, without regard to whether the presumed father or biological mother is a petitioner or respondent.

     (c) In a suit in which a question of paternity is raised, the court shall conduct the pretrial proceedings and order scientifically accepted paternity testing as provided by this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 62, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 962, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.102. Order for Parentage Testing

     (a) When the respondent appears in a parentage suit, the court shall order the mother, an alleged father, and the child to submit to the taking of blood, body fluid, or tissue samples for the purpose of scientifically accepted parentage testing.

     (b) If the respondent fails to appear and wholly defaults or if the allegation of parentage is admitted, the court may waive parentage testing.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.103. Requirements of Testing

     The court shall require in its order testing necessary to ascertain the possibility of an alleged father's paternity and shall require that the tests exclude at least 99 percent of the male population from the possibility of being the father of the child, except that the court shall permit the omission of any further testing if the testing has been conducted sufficiently to establish that an alleged father is not the father of the child, or if the costs of testing have reached an amount that the court determines to be the greatest amount that may reasonably be borne by one or more parties to the suit. If the appearance is before the birth of the child, the court shall order the taking of blood, body fluid, or tissue samples to be made as soon as medically practical after the birth.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.104. Appointment of Experts

     (a) The court shall:

     (1) appoint one or more experts qualified in parentage testing to perform the tests;

     (2) determine the number and qualifications of the experts; and

     (3) prescribe the arrangements for conducting the tests.

     (b) The court may:

     (1) order a reasonable fee for each court-appointed expert; and

     (2) require the fee to be paid by any or all of the parties in the amounts and in the manner directed or tax all, part, or none of the fee as costs in the suit.

     (c) A party may employ other experts qualified in parentage testing. The court may order blood, body fluid, or tissue samples made available to these experts if requested.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.105. Pretrial Conference

     (a) After completion of parentage testing, the court shall order all parties to appear, either in person or by attorney, at a pretrial conference.

     (b) Either party may call a parentage testing expert to testify in person or by deposition about the expert's tests and findings.

     (c) A witness at a pretrial conference is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Evidence.

     (d) A verified written report of a parentage testing expert is admissible at the pretrial conference as evidence of the truth of the matters it contains.

     (e) All evidence admitted at the pretrial conference is a part of the record of the case.

     (f) Parentage test results offered at a pretrial conference are admissible as evidence if the tests were conducted under a court order or by agreement without regard to whether the tests were performed before or after the filing of a suit.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.106. Effect of Parentage Tests

     (a) At the conclusion of the pretrial conference, if the court finds that the tests show by clear and convincing evidence that an alleged or presumed father is not the father of the child, the court shall dismiss with prejudice the parentage suit as to that man.

     (b) If the court finds that the parentage tests do not exclude an alleged father as the father of the child, the court shall set the suit for trial.

     (c) If the court finds that at least 99 percent of the male population is excluded by the tests and that an alleged father is not excluded from the possibility of being the child's father, the burden of proof at trial is on the party opposing the establishment of the alleged father's parentage.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.107. Effect of Refusing Parentage Testing

     (a) An order for parentage testing is enforceable by contempt and:

     (1) if the petitioner is the mother or an alleged father and refuses to submit to parentage testing, the court may dismiss the suit; or

     (2) if a party refuses to submit to court-ordered parentage testing, on proof sufficient to render a default judgment the court may resolve the question of parentage against that party.

     (b) If a parent or an alleged parent refuses to submit to parentage testing, the fact of refusal may be introduced as evidence as provided by this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.108. Preferential Trial Setting

     (a) In a suit provided by this chapter, after a hearing the court shall grant a motion for a preferential setting for trial on the merits filed by a party to the suit or by the attorney or guardian ad litem for the child. The court shall give precedence to that trial over other civil cases if discovery has been completed or sufficient time has elapsed since the filing of the suit for the completion of all necessary and reasonable discovery if diligently pursued.

     (b) The provisions of this section regarding preferential setting apply to trial on the merits without regard to whether the suit is set for a trial before the court or before a jury.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.109. Evidence at Trial

     (a) A party may call a parentage testing expert to testify at the trial in person or by deposition.

     (b) A verified written report of a parentage testing expert is admissible at the trial as evidence of the truth of the matters it contains.

     (c) If the parentage tests show the possibility of an alleged father's paternity, the court shall admit this evidence if offered at the trial.

     (d) Parentage test results offered at the trial shall be admissible as evidence if the tests were conducted under court order or by agreement, without regard to whether the tests were performed before or after the filing of a suit.

     (e) The party seeking to establish an alleged father's paternity retains the right to open and close at trial without regard to whether the court has shifted the burden of proof to the opposing party.

     (f) If a copy is provided to the adverse party and to the court at the pretrial conference, submission of a copy of a medical bill for the prenatal and postnatal health care expenses of the mother and child or for charges directly related to the parentage testing constitutes a prima facie showing that the charges are reasonable, necessary, and customary and may be admitted as evidence of the truth of the matters stated in the bill.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

160.110. Presumptions; Burden of Proof

     (a) In a suit in which there is a presumption of parentage under Chapter 151, the party denying a presumed father's paternity of the child has the burden of rebutting the presumption of paternity by clear and convincing evidence.

     (b) If the parentage tests show the possibility of an alleged father's paternity and that at least 99 percent of the male population is excluded from the possibility of being the father, evidence of these facts constitutes a prima facie showing of an alleged father's paternity, and the party opposing the establishment of the alleged father's paternity has the burden of proving that the alleged father is not the father of the child.

     (c) A party who refuses to submit to parentage testing has the burden of proving that an alleged father is not the father of the child.

     (d) The court shall dismiss with prejudice a claim regarding a presumed father whose paternity is excluded by scientifically accepted paternity testing.

     (e) If two or more presumptions are in conflict, the presumption that is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. The court shall find that the weightier presumption of paternity is that of a presumed father who is not excluded as the biological father of the child by scientifically accepted paternity testing that shows that at least 99 percent of the male population is excluded.

     (f) The court shall dismiss a suit contesting a presumption of paternity filed by a man who is not a presumed father, but who alleges himself to be the biological father of a child, if:

     (1) the suit is filed after the second anniversary of the later of:

     (A) the date of birth of the child; or

     (B) the time the presumption of paternity came into existence after the child was born; and

     (2) the presumed father:

     (A) has resided in the same household as the child in a father-child relationship or has established a father-child relationship with the child through his other actions; and

     (B) requests an order designating him as the father of the child.

     (g) A suit contesting a presumption that a man is the biological father of a child may be filed at any time during the minority of the child by:

     (1) the biological mother of the child;

     (2) a person related within the second degree of consanguinity to the biological mother of the child, if the biological mother of the child is deceased;

     (3) a presumed father; or

     (4) a governmental entity, authorized agency, or licensed child-placing agency.

     (h) If a presumption of paternity is rebutted, the court shall enter an order finding that the man presumed to be the father of the child is not the biological father.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 63, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 962, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

SUBCHAPTER C. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OR DENIAL OF PATERNITY

160.201. Voluntary Acknowledgment Of Paternity

     The mother of a child and a man claiming to be the father of the child may execute an acknowledgment of paternity as provided by this subchapter to establish the man's paternity.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 64, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.202. Execution of Acknowledgment of Paternity

     (a) An acknowledgment of paternity must:

     (1) be in writing;

     (2) be signed by the mother and the putative father; and

     (3) state whether the child whose paternity is being acknowledged has a presumed father under Section 151.002.

     (b) If the mother declares in the acknowledgment that there is a presumed father of the child, the acknowledgment must be accompanied by a denial of paternity signed by the presumed father, unless the presumed father is the man who has signed the acknowledgment.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 64, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.203. Filing Acknowledgment of Paternity

     (a) An acknowledgment of paternity executed under this subchapter shall be filed with the bureau of vital statistics.

     (b) The bureau of vital statistics may not charge a fee to file the acknowledgment.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 64, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.204. Signing of Acknowledgment or Denial of Paternity

     (a) An acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity may contain the mother's signature and the putative father's signature on separate documents.

     (b) An acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity may be signed before the birth of the child.

     (c) An adult or a minor may sign an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from 160.205 by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 64, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.205. Effect of Acknowledgment of Paternity

     (a) Subject to the right to rescind or contest an acknowledgment of paternity under this subchapter, a signed acknowledgment of paternity filed with the bureau of vital statistics is a legal finding of paternity of a child equivalent to a judicial determination.

     (b) If the mother or the man claiming to be the father falsely denies the existence of a presumed father in an acknowledgment of paternity, the acknowledgment of paternity is voidable within the time to rescind under Section 160.206 .

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from 160.206 by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, 64, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.206. Suit to Rescind Acknowledgment or Denial

     (a) Subject to the requirements of Subsection (b), a person who signs an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity may file a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to rescind the acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity.

     (b) The petition to rescind an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity must be filed not later than the earlier of:

     (1) the 61st day after the date the acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity is filed with the bureau of vital statistics; or

     (2) the date of the first hearing before a tribunal to determine an issue relating to the child in which the person is a party, including a proceeding that establishes support.

     (c) If a proceeding to rescind an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity is filed jointly or agreed to by all necessary parties, the court shall order the bureau of vital statistics to amend the birth record of the child by removing the father's name.

     (d) If the proceeding to rescind is not agreed to by all parties, the court shall conduct a hearing in the same manner as a proceeding to determine parentage under this chapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.207. Suit to Contest Acknowledgment or Denial

     (a) A person who may contest a presumption of paternity under Section 160.101 may contest an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity by filing a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. A suit to contest an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity that is filed after the time for a suit to rescind under Section 160.206 may be filed only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. The party challenging the acknowledgment of paternity or the denial of paternity has the burden of proof.

     (b) A suit to contest an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity shall be conducted in the same manner as a proceeding to determine parentage under this chapter.

     (c) A person must bring suit to contest an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity not later than the fourth anniversary of the date the acknowledgment of paternity or the denial of paternity is filed with the bureau of vital statistics.

     (d) A suit to contest an unrescinded acknowledgment of paternity may not be filed after the date a court has rendered an order, including a child support order, based on the acknowledgment of paternity.

     (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a collateral attack on an acknowledgment of paternity executed under this subchapter may not be filed after the fourth anniversary of the date the acknowledgment of paternity is filed with the bureau of vital statistics.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.208. Procedure for Suit to Rescind or Contest

     (a) Each person who signs an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity must be made a party to a suit to rescind or contest the acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity.

     (b) Except for good cause shown, the court may not suspend the legal responsibility of a person arising from the acknowledgment of paternity, including the duty to pay child support, while a suit is pending.

     (c) On a determination of paternity or nonpaternity, the court shall order the bureau of vital statistics to amend the birth record of the child in accordance with the order of the court.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.209. Court Ratification

     An unrescinded and uncontested acknowledgment of paternity is valid and effective without court ratification. In a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, parentage of a child may be proved by evidence that an unrescinded and uncontested acknowledgment of paternity of the child has been filed with the bureau of vital statistics.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.210. Full Faith and Credit

     An acknowledgment of paternity signed in another state shall be accorded full faith and credit by the courts of this state if the acknowledgment is signed in apparent compliance with the other state's law.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.211. Validation of Earlier Statement

     A statement admitting paternity or an obligation to support a child that was signed before September 1, 1999, is valid and binding even though the statement is not executed as provided by this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.212. Forms for Acknowledgment and Denial of Paternity

     (a) The bureau of vital statistics shall prescribe forms for an acknowledgment of paternity and a denial of paternity to comply with this subchapter.

     (b) The forms prescribed under this section must:

     (1) contain information regarding the procedure to rescind an acknowledgment or a denial;

     (2) provide that the signatures on the forms are witnessed and signed under penalty of perjury; and

     (3) state whether the mother, the putative father, or the presumed father is a minor.

     (c) The form for acknowledgment of paternity must inform the putative father that signing the acknowledgment of paternity with the consent of the mother:

     (1) creates the parent-child relationship between him and the child;

     (2) imposes upon him a legal duty to support the child; and

     (3) enables a court to grant him the right of custody or visitation with the child.

     (d) The form for denial of paternity must inform the man that signing the denial of paternity with the consent of the mother:

     (1) legally determines his nonpaternity of the child;

     (2) removes the legal duty that he support the child; and

     (3) terminates his right of conservatorship or possession of or access to the child.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.213. Validity of Forms

     The validity of an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity is not affected by a modification of the prescribed form by the bureau of vital statistics that occurs after the acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity is signed if the form met the requirements of state law at the time it was signed.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.214. Release of Information

     The bureau of vital statistics shall release information relating to the acknowledgment or denial of paternity and rescinding an acknowledgment or a denial of paternity to the Title IVD agency and any other person authorized by law.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.215. Adoption of Rules

     The Title IVD agency and the bureau of vital statistics may adopt rules to implement this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.216. Memorandum of Understanding

     The Title IVD agency and the bureau of vital statistics shall adopt a memorandum of understanding governing the collection and transfer of information for the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. The Title IVD agency and the bureau of vital statistics shall review the memorandum semiannually and renew or modify the memorandum as necessary.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

SUBCHAPTER D. PATERNITY REGISTRY

160.251. Paternity Registry; Purpose

     (a) The bureau of vital statistics shall establish a paternity registry.

     (b) The bureau of vital statistics shall administer the registry to:

     (1) protect the parental rights of fathers who affirmatively assume responsibility for children they may have fathered; and

     (2) expedite adoptions of children whose biological fathers are unwilling to assume responsibility for their children by registering with the registry or otherwise acknowledging their children.

     (c) The registry does not relieve a mother of the obligation to identify the known father of her child.

     (d) A man is not required to register with the paternity registry if he:

     (1) is presumed to be the biological father of a child under Chapter 151;

     (2) has been adjudicated to be the biological father of a child by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

     (3) has filed an acknowledgment of paternity under Subchapter C.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 38, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.252. Required Information

     A man registering with the registry shall provide:

     (1) the name, last known address, driver's license number, and social security number, if known, of the mother of the child;

     (2) the name of the child and the location and date of birth of the child, if known, or the probable month and year of the expected birth of the child;

     (3) the man's name, address, driver's license number, and social security number; and

     (4) a statement in which the man claims to be the father of the child identified by the man.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.253. Information Maintained by Registry

     The registry shall record the name, address, driver's license number, and social security number of a man who claims to be the father of a child whose paternity has not been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction by giving notice of intent to claim paternity, as provided by this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.254. Knowledge of Pregnancy

     (a) A person who has sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex is deemed to have knowledge that sexual intercourse can result in the woman's pregnancy.

     (b) Except as provided by this subchapter, a man who claims to be the father of a child shall file a notice of intent to assert as provided by this subchapter his right to establish paternity of a child that may result from the sexual intercourse.

     (c) Ignorance of a pregnancy is not a sufficient reason for failing to register with the registry to claim paternity of the child born of the pregnancy.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.2545. Information Regarding Registry, Birth Records, and Acknowledgments of Paternity Filed With Bureau of Vital Statistics

     (a) On receipt of a request for a certificate under Section 160.260 attesting to the results of a search of the paternity registry, the bureau of vital statistics shall search:

     (1) notices of intent to claim paternity filed with the registry under this subchapter;

     (2) birth records maintained by the bureau;

     (3) acknowledgments of paternity filed with the bureau under Subchapter C; and

     (4) central file records identifying a court of continuing jurisdiction and identifying the adjudicated father, if any.

     (b) The bureau shall furnish information resulting from a search under Subsection (a) to the requestor.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, 39, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

160.255. Furnishing of Registry Information; Confidentiality; Offense

     (a) If the mother's address has been provided, the registry shall send a copy of the notice of intent to claim paternity to the mother as notification that a man has registered with the paternity registry claiming to be the father of the mother's child.

     (b) Information contained in the registry is confidential and may be released on request only to:

     (1) a court;

     (2) the mother of a child;

     (3) an authorized agency;

     (4) a licensed child-placing agency;

     (5) an attorney at law in this state who is participating or assisting in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, including termination of the parent-child relationship or a suit for the adoption of the child that the registrant claims to have fathered; or

     (6) any other person or entity the bureau of vital statistics considers to have a legitimate interest in the information.

     (c) The registry shall furnish registry information by electronic data exchange or any other means to the state's Title IV-D agency and the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

     (d) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally and unlawfully releases information from the registry to the public or makes any other unlawful use of the information in violation of this subchapter. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.256. Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity

     (a) Except as provided by Subsection (d), a person may register as provided by this subchapter by filing a notice of intent to claim paternity on a form provided by the bureau of vital statistics. This form shall be signed and acknowledged before a notary public.

     (b) The bureau shall make registration forms available to all:

     (1) hospitals and other birthing places in this state;

     (2) licensed child-placing agencies;

     (3) county and district clerks;

     (4) municipal clerks;

     (5) justices of the peace;

     (6) jails;

     (7) prisons; and

     (8) facilities of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Youth Commission.

     (c) A notice of intent to claim paternity may be filed before the birth of the child but may not be filed after the 30th day after the date of birth of the child.

     (d) If the bureau of vital statistics has received from the clerk of the court notice under Chapter 108 of a decree terminating the parent-child relationship between the person applying to register and the child, the bureau shall notify the person that the person's parent-child relationship with the child has been terminated and may not enter into the registry a notice of intent to claim paternity filed by the person.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.257. Denial of Registrant's Paternity; Notification

     (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date of the receipt of notification from the bureau of vital statistics that a notice of intent to claim paternity has been filed, the mother of the child may deny the registrant's claim of paternity on a form provided by the bureau and signed and acknowledged before a notary public.

     (b) If the mother denies that the registrant is the father of the child, the bureau of vital statistics shall immediately notify the registrant of the denial and of the registrant's right to file a legal action to establish paternity.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.258. Effect of Failure to File Notice of Intent

     Except as provided by Chapter 102 and Chapter 161, a man who fails to file a notice of intent to claim paternity before the 30th day after the date of the birth of the child may not assert an interest in the child other than by filing a suit to establish paternity before the termination of the man's parental rights.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.259. Change or Revocation of Registry Information

     (a) A man who files a notice of intent to claim paternity with the registry shall promptly notify the registry in writing of any change in the information, including a change of address.

     (b) A man who files a notice of intent to claim paternity may at any time revoke the notice by sending the registry a written statement signed and acknowledged by the registrant before a notary public. The statement must include a declaration that, to the best of the registrant's knowledge and belief:

     (1) the registrant is not the father of the named child; or

     (2) a court has adjudicated paternity and a person other than the registrant has been determined to be the father of the child.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.260. Furnishing of Certificate of Registry Search

     On request, the bureau of vital statistics shall furnish a certificate, signed by the state registrar of vital statistics, attesting to the results of a search of the registry regarding a notice of intent to claim paternity to:

     (1) a court;

     (2) the mother of a child;

     (3) an authorized agency;

     (4) a licensed child-placing agency;

     (5) an attorney licensed to practice law in this state who is participating or assisting in an adoption; or

     (6) any other person or entity the bureau of vital statistics considers to have a legitimate interest in the information.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.261. Removal of Registrant's Name

     If a court determines that a registrant is not the father of the child, the court shall order the bureau of vital statistics to remove the registrant's name from the registry. On receipt of an order for the removal of a registrant's name, the bureau of vital statistics shall remove the name from the registry.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.262. Registry Fees

     (a) A fee may not be charged for filing with the registry a notice of intent to claim paternity of a child or a denial of a registrant's paternity.

     (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the Texas Department of Health may charge a fee for processing a search of the paternity registry and for furnishing a certificate under Section 160.260.

     (c) The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services and the Title IV-D agency are not required to pay a fee under Subsection (b).

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

160.263. Admissibility of Information Maintained by Registry

     Information maintained by the paternity registry is admissible in a proceeding in a court or administrative tribunal of this state for any purpose, including for the establishment of the registrant's paternity or an action to terminate parental rights.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

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