Texas Paternity Law


Paternity – General – Texas

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law applicable to an action to establish Paternity in the State of Texas, but does include basic and other provisions.

TEXAS STATUTES
FAMILY CODE
TITLE 5. THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP AND THE SUIT AFFECTING THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

Chapter 160: Uniform Parentage Act


CHAPTER 160. UNIFORM PARENTAGE ACT

§ 160.001. Application and Construction
§ 160.002. Conflicts Between Provisions
§ 160.101. Short Title
§ 160.102. Definitions
§ 160.103. Scope of Chapter; Choice of Law
§ 160.104. Authorized Courts
§ 160.105. Protection of Participants
§ 160.106. Determination of Maternity
§ 160.201. Establishment of Parent-Child Relationship
§ 160.202. No Discrimination Based on Marital Status
§ 160.203. Consequences of Establishment of Parentage
§ 160.204. Presumption of Paternity in Context of Marriage
§ 160.301. Acknowledgment of Paternity
§ 160.302. Execution of Acknowledgment of Paternity
§ 160.303. Denial of Paternity
§ 160.304. Rules for Acknowledgment and Denial of Paternity
§ 160.305. Effect of Acknowledgment or Denial of Paternity
§ 160.306. Filing Fee Not Required
§ 160.307. Proceeding for Rescission
§ 160.308. Challenge After Expiration of Period for Rescission
§ 160.309. Procedure for Rescission or Challenge
§ 160.310. Ratification Barred
§ 160.311. Full Faith and Credit
§ 160.312. Forms for Acknowledgment and Denial of Paternity
§ 160.313. Release of Information
§ 160.314. Adoption of Rules
§ 160.315. Memorandum of Understanding
§ 160.316. Suit to Contest Voluntary Statement of Paternity
§ 160.401. Establishment of Registry
§ 160.402. Registration for Notification
§ 160.403. Notice of Proceeding
§ 160.404. Termination of Parental Rights: Failure to Register
§ 160.411. Required Form
§ 160.412. Furnishing of Information; Confidentiality
§ 160.413. Offense: Unauthorized Release of Information
§ 160.414. Rescission of Registration
§ 160.415. Untimely Registration
§ 160.416. Fees for Registry
§ 160.421. Search of Appropriate Registry
§ 160.422. Certificate of Search of Registry
§ 160.423. Admissibility of Certificate
§ 160.501. Application of Subchapter
§ 160.502. Order for Testing
§ 160.503. Requirements for Genetic Testing
§ 160.504. Report of Genetic Testing
§ 160.505. Genetic Testing Results; Rebuttal
§ 160.506. Costs of Genetic Testing
§ 160.507. Additional Genetic Testing
§ 160.508. Genetic Testing When All Individuals Not Available
§ 160.509. Deceased Individual
§ 160.510. Identical Brothers
§ 160.511. Offense: Unauthorized Release of Specimen
§ 160.601. Proceeding Authorized; Rules of Procedure
§ 160.602. Standing to Maintain Proceeding
§ 160.603. Necessary Parties to Proceeding
§ 160.604. Personal Jurisdiction
§ 160.605. Venue
§ 160.606. No Time Limitation: Child Having no Presumed,
§ 160.607. Time Limitation: Child Having Presumed Father
§ 160.608. Authority to Deny Motion for Genetic Testing
§ 160.609. Time Limitation: Child Having Acknowledged or
§ 160.610. Joinder of Proceedings
§ 160.611. Proceedings Before Birth
§ 160.612. Child as Party; Representation
§ 160.621. Admissibility of Results of Genetic Testing; Expenses
§ 160.622. Consequences of Declining Genetic Testing
§ 160.623. Admission of Paternity Authorized
§ 160.624. Temporary Order
§ 160.631. Rules for Adjudication of Paternity
§ 160.632. Jury Prohibited
§ 160.633. Hearings; Inspection of Records
§ 160.634. Order on Default
§ 160.635. Dismissal for Want of Prosecution
§ 160.636. Order Adjudicating Parentage; Costs
§ 160.637. Binding Effect of Determination of Parentage
§ 160.701. Scope of Subchapter
§ 160.702. Parental Status of Donor
§ 160.703. Husband’s Paternity of Child of Assisted Reproduction
§ 160.704. Consent to Assisted Reproduction
§ 160.705. Limitation on Husband’s Dispute of Paternity
§ 160.706. Effect of Dissolution of Marriage
§ 160.707. Parental Status of Deceased Spouse


CHAPTER 160. UNIFORM PARENTAGE ACT

§ 160.001. Application and Construction
This chapter shall be applied and construed to promote the uniformity of the law among the states that enact the Uniform Parentage Act.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.002. Conflicts Between Provisions
If a provision of this chapter conflicts with another provision of this title or another state statute or rule and the conflict cannot be reconciled, this chapter prevails.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.101. Short Title
This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Parentage Act.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.102. Definitions
In this chapter:

(1) “Adjudicated father” means a man who has been adjudicated by a court to be the father of a child.

(2) “Assisted reproduction” means a method of causing pregnancy other than sexual intercourse. The term includes:

(A) intrauterine insemination;

(B) donation of eggs;

(C) donation of embryos;

(D) in vitro fertilization and transfer of embryos; and

(E) intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

(3) “Child” means an individual of any age whose parentage may be determined under this chapter.

(4) “Commence” means to file the initial pleading seeking an adjudication of parentage in a court of this state.

(5) “Determination of parentage” means the establishment of the parent-child relationship by the signing of a valid acknowledgment of paternity under Subchapter D or by an adjudication by a court.

(6) “Donor” means an individual who provides eggs or sperm to a licensed physician to be used for assisted reproduction, regardless of whether the eggs or sperm are provided for consideration. The term does not include:

(A) a husband who provides sperm or a wife who provides eggs to be used for assisted reproduction by the wife; or

(B) a woman who gives birth to a child by means of assisted reproduction.; or

(C) an unmarried man who, with the intent to be the father of the resulting child, provides sperm to be used for assisted reproduction by an unmarried woman, as provided by Section 160.7031.

(7) “Ethnic or racial group” means, for purposes of genetic testing, a recognized group that an individual identifies as all or part of the individual’s ancestry or that is identified by other information.

(8) “Genetic testing” means an analysis of an individual’s genetic markers to exclude or identify a man as the father of a child or a woman as the mother of a child. The term includes an analysis of one or more of the following:

(A) deoxyribonucleic acid; and

(B) blood-group antigens, red-cell antigens, human-leukocyte antigens, serum enzymes, serum proteins, or red-cell enzymes.

(9) “Intended parents” means individuals who enter into an agreement providing that the individuals will be the parents of a child born to a gestational mother by means of assisted reproduction, regardless of whether either individual has a genetic relationship with the child.

(10) “Man” means a male individual of any age.

(11) “Parent” means an individual who has established a parent-child relationship under Section 160.201.

(12) “Paternity index” means the likelihood of paternity determined by calculating the ratio between:

(A) the likelihood that the tested man is the father of the child, based on the genetic markers of the tested man, the mother of the child, and the child, conditioned on the hypothesis that the tested man is the father of the child; and

(B) the likelihood that the tested man is not the father of the child, based on the genetic markers of the tested man, the mother of the child, and the child, conditioned on the hypothesis that the tested man is not the father of the child and that the father of the child is of the same ethnic or racial group as the tested man.

(13) “Presumed father” means a man who, by operation of law under Section 160.204, is recognized as the father of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding.

(14) “Probability of paternity” means the probability, with respect to the ethnic or racial group to which the alleged father belongs, that the alleged father is the father of the child, compared to a random, unrelated man of the same ethnic or racial group, expressed as a percentage incorporating the paternity index and a prior probability.

(15) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in a perceivable form.

(16) “Signatory” means an individual who authenticates a record and is bound by its terms.

(17) “Support enforcement agency” means a public official or public agency authorized to seek:

(A) the enforcement of child support orders or laws relating to the duty of support;

(B) the establishment or modification of child support;

(C) the determination of parentage;

(D) the location of child-support obligors and their income and assets; or

(E) the conservatorship of a child or the termination of parental rights.

Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001; Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 972, § 39, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

§ 160.103. Scope of Chapter; Choice of Law

(a) This chapter governs every determination of parentage in this state.

(b) The court shall apply the law of this state to adjudicate the parent-child relationship. The applicable law does not depend on:

(1) the place of birth of the child; or

(2) the past or present residence of the child.

(c) This chapter does not create, enlarge, or diminish parental rights or duties under another law of this state.

(d) (d) Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 457, § 3.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 457, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 160.104. Authorized Courts
The following courts are authorized to adjudicate parentage under this chapter:

(1) a court with jurisdiction to hear a suit affecting the parent-child relationship under this title; or

(2) a court with jurisdiction to adjudicate parentage under another law of this state.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.105. Protection of Participants
A proceeding under this chapter is subject to the other laws of this state governing the health, safety, privacy, and liberty of a child or any other individual who may be jeopardized by the disclosure of identifying information, including the person’s address, telephone number, place of employment, and social security number and the name of the child’s day-care facility and school.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.106. Determination of Maternity
The provisions of this chapter relating to the determination of paternity apply to a determination of maternity.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER C. PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

§ 160.201. Establishment of Parent-Child Relationship

(a) The mother-child relationship is established between a woman and a child by:

(1) the woman giving birth to the child;

(2) an adjudication of the woman’s maternity; or

(3) the adoption of the child by the woman.

(b) The father-child relationship is established between a man and a child by:

(1) an unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under Section 160.204;

(2) an effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man under Subchapter D, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged;

(3) an adjudication of the man’s paternity;

(4) the adoption of the child by the man; or

(5) the man’s consenting to assisted reproduction by his wife under Subchapter H, which resulted in the birth of the child.

Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.202. No Discrimination Based on Marital Status
A child born to parents who are not married to each other has the same rights under the law as a child born to parents who are married to each other.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.203. Consequences of Establishment of Parentage
Unless parental rights are terminated, a parent-child relationship established under this chapter applies for all purposes, except as otherwise provided by another law of this state.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.204. Presumption of Paternity

(a) A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

(1) he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage;

(2) he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;

(3) he married the mother of the child before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce; or

(4) he married the mother of the child after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:

(A) the assertion is in a record filed with the bureau of vital statistics;

(B) he is voluntarily named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or

(C) he promised in a record to support the child as his own, or;

(5) during the first two years of the child’s life, he continuously resided in the household in which the child resided and he represented to others that the child was his own.

(b) A presumption of paternity established under this section may be rebutted only by an adjudication under Subchapter G.
Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, § 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1248, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

SUBCHAPTER D. VOLUNTARY ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PATERNITY

§ 160.301. Acknowledgment of Paternity
The mother of a child and a man claiming to be the biological father of the child may sign an acknowledgment of paternity with the intent to establish the man’s paternity.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1248, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 160.302. Execution of Acknowledgment of Paternity

(a) An acknowledgment of paternity must:

(1) be in a record;

(2) be signed, or otherwise authenticated, under penalty of perjury by the mother and the man seeking to establish paternity;

(3) state that the child whose paternity is being acknowledged:

(A) does not have a presumed father or has a presumed father whose full name is stated; and

(B) does not have another acknowledged or adjudicated father;

(4) state whether there has been genetic testing and, if so, that the acknowledging man’s claim of paternity is consistent with the results of the testing; and

(5) state that the signatories understand that the acknowledgment is the equivalent of a judicial adjudication of the paternity of the child and that a challenge to the acknowledgment is permitted only under limited circumstances and is barred after four years.

(b) An acknowledgment of paternity is void if it:

(1) states that another man is a presumed father of the child, unless a denial of paternity signed or otherwise authenticated by the presumed father is filed with the bureau of vital statistics;

(2) states that another man is an acknowledged or adjudicated father of the child; or

(3) falsely denies the existence of a presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father of the child.

(c) A presumed father may sign or otherwise authenticate an acknowledgment of paternity.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.303. Denial of Paternity
A presumed father of a child may sign a denial of his paternity. The denial is valid only if:

(1) an acknowledgment of paternity signed or otherwise authenticated by another man is filed under Section 160.305;

(2) the denial is in a record and is signed or otherwise authenticated under penalty of perjury; and

(3) the presumed father has not previously:

(A) acknowledged paternity of the child, unless the previous acknowledgment has been rescinded under Section 160.307 or successfully challenged under Section 160.308; or

(B) been adjudicated to be the father of the child.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.304. Rules for Acknowledgment and Denial of Paternity

(a) An acknowledgment of paternity and a denial of paternity may be contained in a single document or in different documents and may be filed separately or simultaneously. If the acknowledgment and denial are both necessary, neither document is valid until both documents are filed.

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

(c) Subject to Subsection (a), an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity takes effect on the date of the birth of the child or the filing of the document with the bureau of vital statistics, whichever occurs later.

(d) An acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity signed by a minor is valid if it otherwise complies with this chapter.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.305. Effect of Acknowledgment or Denial of Paternity

(a) Except as provided by Sections 160.307 and 160.308, a valid acknowledgment of paternity filed with the bureau of vital statistics is the equivalent of an adjudication of the paternity of a child and confers on the acknowledged father all rights and duties of a parent.

(b) Except as provided by Sections 160.307 and 160.308, a valid denial of paternity filed with the bureau of vital statistics in conjunction with a valid acknowledgment of paternity is the equivalent of an adjudication of the nonpaternity of the presumed father and discharges the presumed father from all rights and duties of a parent.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.306. Filing Fee Not Required
The bureau of vital statistics may not charge a fee for filing an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.307. Proceeding for Rescission
A signatory may rescind an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity by commencing a proceeding to rescind before the earlier of:

(1) the 60th day after the effective date of the acknowledgment or denial, as provided by Section 160.304; or

(2) the date of the first hearing in a proceeding to which the signatory is a party before a court to adjudicate an issue relating to the child, including a proceeding that establishes child support.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.308. Challenge After Expiration of Period for Rescission

(a)After the period for rescission under Section 160.307 has expired, a signatory of an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity may commence a proceeding to challenge the acknowledgment or denial only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. The proceeding must be commenced before the fourth anniversary of the date the acknowledgment or denial is filed with the bureau of vital statistics unless the signatory was a minor on the date the signatory executed the acknowledgment or denial. If the signatory was a minor on the date the signatory executed the acknowledgment or denial, the proceeding must be commenced before the earlier of the fourth anniversary of the date of:

(1)the signatory’s 18th birthday; or

(2) the removal of the signatory’s disabilities of minority by court order, marriage, or by other operation of law.

(b) A party challenging an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity has the burden of proof.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a collateral attack on an acknowledgment of paternity signed under this chapter may not be maintained after the fourth anniversary of the date the acknowledgment of paternity is filed with the bureau of vital statistics unless the signatory was a minor on the date the signatory executed the acknowledgment. If the signatory was a minor on the date the signatory executed the acknowledgment, a collateral attack on the acknowledgment of paternity may not be maintained after the earlier of the fourth anniversary of the date of:

(1)the signatory’s 18th birthday; or

(2) the removal of the signatory’s disabilities of minority by court order, marriage, or by other operation of law.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (a), evidence that, based on genetic testing, the man who is the signatory of an acknowledgement of paternity is not rebuttably identified as the father of a child in accordance with Section 160.505 constitutes a material mistake of fact.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 478, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.

§ 160.309. Procedure for Rescission or Challenge

(a) Each signatory to an acknowledgment of paternity and any related denial of paternity must be made a party to a proceeding to rescind or challenge the acknowledgment or denial of paternity.

(b) For purposes of the rescission of or a challenge to an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity, a signatory submits to the personal jurisdiction of this state by signing the acknowledgment or denial. The jurisdiction is effective on the filing of the document with the bureau of vital statistics.

(c) Except for good cause shown, while a proceeding is pending to rescind or challenge an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity, the court may not suspend the legal responsibilities of a signatory arising from the acknowledgment, including the duty to pay child support.

(d) A proceeding to rescind or to challenge an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity shall be conducted in the same manner as a proceeding to adjudicate parentage under Subchapter G.

(e) At the conclusion of a proceeding to rescind or challenge an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity, the court shall order the bureau of vital statistics to amend the birth record of the child, if appropriate.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.310. Ratification Barred
A court or administrative agency conducting a judicial or administrative proceeding may not ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.311. Full Faith and Credit
A court of this state shall give full faith and credit to an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity that is effective in another state if the acknowledgment or denial has been signed and is otherwise in compliance with the law of the other state.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.312. Forms for Acknowledgment and Denial of Paternity

(a) To facilitate compliance with this subchapter, the bureau of vital statistics shall prescribe forms for the acknowledgment of paternity and the denial of paternity.

(b) A valid acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity is not affected by a later modification of the prescribed form.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.313. Release of Information
The bureau of vital statistics may release information relating to the acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity to a signatory of the acknowledgment or denial and to the courts and Title IV-D agency of this or another state.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.314. Adoption of Rules
The Title IV-D agency and the bureau of vital statistics may adopt rules to implement this subchapter.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.315. Memorandum of Understanding

(a) The Title IV-D 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.

(b) The Title IV-D agency and the bureau of vital statistics shall review the memorandum semiannually and renew or modify the memorandum as necessary.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.316. Suit to Contest Voluntary Statement of Paternity

(a) A man who executed a voluntary statement of paternity before September 1, 1999, and who, on the basis of that statement, is the subject of a final order declaring him to be a parent of the child who is the subject of the statement may file a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to contest the statement on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact in the same manner that a person may contest an acknowledgment of paternity under Sections 160.308 and 160.309. For purposes of this subsection, evidence that, based on genetic testing, the man is not rebuttably identified as the father of a child in accordance with Section 160.505 constitutes a material mistake of fact.

(b) A suit filed under this section to contest a voluntary statement of paternity is not affected by an order with respect to the child that was rendered on the basis of that statement.

(c) The court, on a preliminary finding in a suit under this section that there is credible evidence of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact regarding the execution of the voluntary statement of paternity, shall order genetic testing as provided by Subchapter F. The person contesting the voluntary statement of paternity shall pay the cost of the testing.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), if the results of the genetic testing do not rebuttably identify the man as the father of the child in accordance with Section 160.505, the court shall set aside:

(1) the final order declaring the man to be a parent of the child; and

(2) any other order with respect to the child that was rendered on the basis of the voluntary statement of paternity.

(e) The court may not set aside under Subsection (d) a final order declaring a man to be a parent of a child if the man who executed the voluntary statement of paternity:

(1) executed the statement knowing that he was not the father of the child; or

(2) subsequently adopted the child.

(f) If the court sets aside a final order as provided by Subsection (d), the court shall order the bureau of vital statistics to amend the birth record of the child. The court may not as a result of the order being set aside:

(1) require an obligee to repay child support paid by the man who executed the voluntary statement of paternity; or

(2) award damages to the man who executed the voluntary statement of paternity.

(g) A suit under this section must be filed before September 1, 2003.

(h) This section expires September 1, 2004.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER E. REGISTRY OF PATERNITY

§ 160.401. Establishment of Registry
A registry of paternity is established in the bureau of vital statistics.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.402. Registration for Notification

(a) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (b), a man who desires to be notified of a proceeding for the adoption of or the termination of parental rights regarding a child that he may have fathered may register with the registry of paternity:

(1) before the birth of the child; or

(2) not later than the 31st day after the date of the birth of the child.

(b) A man is entitled to notice of a proceeding described by Subsection (a) regardless of whether he registers with the registry of paternity if:

(1) a father-child relationship between the man and the child has been established under this chapter or another law; or

(2) the man commences a proceeding to adjudicate his paternity before the court has terminated his parental rights.

(c) A registrant shall promptly notify the registry in a record of any change in the information provided by the registrant. The bureau of vital statistics shall incorporate all new information received into its records but is not required to affirmatively seek to obtain current information for incorporation in the registry.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.403. Notice of Proceeding
Except as provided by Sections 161.002(b)(2), (3), and (4) and (f), notice of a proceeding to adopt or to terminate parental rights regarding a child must be given to a registrant who has timely registered with regard to that child. Notice must be given in a manner prescribed for service of process in a civil action.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 1283, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

§ 160.404. Termination of Parental Rights: Failure to Register
The parental rights of a man alleged to be the father of a child may be terminated without notice as provided by Section 161.002 if the man:

(1) did not timely register with the bureau of vital statistics; and

(2) is not entitled to notice under Section 160.402 or 161.002.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.411. Required Form
The bureau of vital statistics shall adopt a form for registering with the registry. The form must require the signature of the registrant. The form must state that:

(1) the form is signed under penalty of perjury;

(2) a timely registration entitles the registrant to notice of a proceeding for adoption of the child or for termination of the registrant’s parental rights;

(3) a timely registration does not commence a proceeding to establish paternity;

(4) the information disclosed on the form may be used against the registrant to establish paternity;

(5) services to assist in establishing paternity are available to the registrant through the support enforcement agency;

(6) the registrant should also register in another state if the conception or birth of the child occurred in the other state;

(7) information on registries in other states is available from the bureau of vital statistics; and

(8) procedures exist to rescind the registration of a claim of paternity.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.412. Furnishing of Information; Confidentiality

(a) The bureau of vital statistics is not required to attempt to locate the mother of a child who is the subject of a registration. The bureau of vital statistics shall send a copy of the notice of the registration to a mother who has provided an address.

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

(1) a court or a person designated by the court;

(2) the mother of the child who is the subject of the registration;

(3) an agency authorized by another law to receive the information;

(4) a licensed child-placing agency;

(5) a support enforcement agency;

(6) a party, or the party’s attorney of record, to a proceeding under this chapter or a proceeding to adopt or to terminate parental rights regarding a child who is the subject of the registration; and

(7) the registry of paternity in another state.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.413. Offense: Unauthorized Release of Information

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally releases information from the registry of paternity to another person, including an agency, that is not authorized to receive the information under Section 160.412.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.414. Rescission of Registration
A registrant may rescind his registration at any time by sending to the registry a rescission in a record or another manner authenticated by him and witnessed or notarized.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.415. Untimely Registration
If a man registers later than the 31st day after the date of the birth of the child, the bureau of vital statistics shall notify the registrant that the registration was not timely filed.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 627, § 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

§ 160.416. Fees for Registry

(a) A fee may not be charged for filing a registration or to rescind a registration.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (c), the bureau of vital statistics may charge a reasonable fee for making a search of the registry and for furnishing a certificate.

(c) A support enforcement agency is not required to pay a fee authorized by Subsection (b).
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.421. Search of Appropriate Registry

(a) If a father-child relationship has not been established under this chapter, a petitioner for the adoption of or the termination of parental rights regarding the child must obtain a certificate of the results of a search of the registry. The petitioner may request a search of the registry on or after the 32nd day after the date of the birth of the child, and the bureau of vital statistics may not by rule impose a waiting period that must elapse before the bureau will conduct the requested search.

(b) If the petitioner for the adoption of or the termination of parental rights regarding a child has reason to believe that the conception or birth of the child may have occurred in another state, the petitioner must obtain a certificate of the results of a search of the paternity registry, if any, in the other state.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 627, § 2, eff. June 15, 2007.§ 160.422. Certificate of Search of Registry

(a) The bureau of vital statistics shall furnish a certificate of the results of a search of the registry on request by an individual, a court, or an agency listed in Section 160.412(b).

(b) The certificate of the results of a search must be signed on behalf of the bureau and state that:

(1) a search has been made of the registry; and

(2) a registration containing the information required to identify the registrant:

(A) has been found and is attached to the certificate; or

(B) has not been found.

(c) A petitioner must file the certificate of the results of a search of the registry with the court before a proceeding for the adoption of or termination of parental rights regarding a child may be concluded.

(d) (d) A search of the registry is not required if a parent-child relationship exists between a man and the child, as provided by Section 160.201(b), and that man:

(1) has been served with citation of the proceeding for termination of the parent-child relationship; or

(2) has signed a relinquishment of parental rights with regard to, the child.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 1283, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

§ 160.423. Admissibility of Certificate
A certificate of the results of a search of the registry in this state or of a paternity registry in another state is admissible in a proceeding for the adoption of or the termination of parental rights regarding a child and, if relevant, in other legal proceedings.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.
SUBCHAPTER F. GENETIC TESTING

§ 160.501. Application of Subchapter
This subchapter governs genetic testing of an individual to determine parentage, regardless of whether the individual:

(1) voluntarily submits to testing; or

(2) is tested under an order of a court or a support enforcement agency.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.502. Order for Testing

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter and by Subchapter G, a court shall order a child and other designated individuals to submit to genetic testing if the request is made by a party to a proceeding to determine parentage.

(b) If a request for genetic testing of a child is made before the birth of the child, the court or support enforcement agency may not order in utero testing.

(c) If two or more men are subject to court-ordered genetic testing, the testing may be ordered concurrently or sequentially.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.503. Requirements for Genetic Testing

(a) Genetic testing must be of a type reasonably relied on by experts in the field of genetic testing. The testing must be performed in a testing laboratory accredited by:

(1) the American Association of Blood Banks, or a successor to its functions;

(2) the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, or a successor to its functions; or

(3) an accrediting body designated by the federal secretary of health and human services.

(b) A specimen used in genetic testing may consist of one or more samples, or a combination of samples, of blood, buccal cells, bone, hair, or other body tissue or fluid. The specimen used in the testing is not required to be of the same kind for each individual undergoing genetic testing.

(c) Based on the ethnic or racial group of an individual, the testing laboratory shall determine the databases from which to select frequencies for use in the calculation of the probability of paternity of the individual. If there is disagreement as to the testing laboratory’s choice:

(1) the objecting individual may require the testing laboratory, not later than the 30th day after the date of receipt of the report of the test, to recalculate the probability of paternity using an ethnic or racial group different from that used by the laboratory;

(2) the individual objecting to the testing laboratory’s initial choice shall:

(A) if the frequencies are not available to the testing laboratory for the ethnic or racial group requested, provide the requested frequencies compiled in a manner recognized by accrediting bodies; or

(B) engage another testing laboratory to perform the calculations; and

(3) the testing laboratory may use its own statistical estimate if there is a question regarding which ethnic or racial group is appropriate and, if available, shall calculate the frequencies using statistics for any other ethnic or racial group requested.

(d) If, after recalculation using a different ethnic or racial group, genetic testing does not rebuttably identify a man as the father of a child under Section 160.505, an individual who has been tested may be required to submit to additional genetic testing.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.504. Report of Genetic Testing

(a) A report of the results of genetic testing must be in a record and signed under penalty of perjury by a designee of the testing laboratory. A report made under the requirements of this subchapter is self-authenticating.

(b) Documentation from the testing laboratory is sufficient to establish a reliable chain of custody that allows the results of genetic testing to be admissible without testimony if the documentation includes:

(1) the name and photograph of each individual whose specimens have been taken;

(2) the name of each individual who collected the specimens;

(3) the places in which the specimens were collected and the date of each collection;

(4) the name of each individual who received the specimens in the testing laboratory; and

(5) the dates the specimens were received.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.505. Genetic Testing Results; Rebuttal

(a) A man is rebuttably identified as the father of a child under this chapter if the genetic testing complies with this subchapter and the results disclose:

(1) that the man has at least a 99 percent probability of paternity, using a prior probability of 0.5, as calculated by using the combined paternity index obtained in the testing; and

(2) a combined paternity index of at least 100 to 1.

(b) A man identified as the father of a child under Subsection (a) may rebut the genetic testing results only by producing other genetic testing satisfying the requirements of this subchapter that:

(1) excludes the man as a genetic father of the child; or

(2) identifies another man as the possible father of the child.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by Section 160.510, if more than one man is identified by genetic testing as the possible father of the child, the court shall order each man to submit to further genetic testing to identify the genetic father.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.506. Costs of Genetic Testing

(a) Subject to the assessment of costs under Subchapter G, the cost of initial genetic testing must be advanced:

(1) by a support enforcement agency, if the agency is providing services in the proceeding;

(2) by the individual who made the request;

(3) as agreed by the parties; or

(4) as ordered by the court.

(b) In cases in which the cost of genetic testing is advanced by the support enforcement agency, the agency may seek reimbursement from a man who is rebuttably identified as the father.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.507. Additional Genetic Testing
The court or the support enforcement agency shall order additional genetic testing on the request of a party who contests the result of the original testing. If the previous genetic testing identified a man as the father of the child under Section 160.505, the court or agency may not order additional testing unless the party provides advance payment for the testing.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.508. Genetic Testing When All Individuals Not Available

(a) Subject to Subsection (b), if a genetic testing specimen for good cause and under circumstances the court considers to be just is not available from a man who may be the father of a child, a court may order the following individuals to submit specimens for genetic testing:

(1) the parents of the man;

(2) any brothers or sisters of the man;

(3) any other children of the man and their mothers; and

(4) other relatives of the man necessary to complete genetic testing.

(b) A court may not render an order under this section unless the court finds that the need for genetic testing outweighs the legitimate interests of the individual sought to be tested.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.509. Deceased Individual
For good cause shown, the court may order genetic testing of a deceased individual.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.510. Identical Brothers

(a) The court may order genetic testing of a brother of a man identified as the father of a child if the man is commonly believed to have an identical brother and evidence suggests that the brother may be the genetic father of the child.

(b) If each brother satisfies the requirements of Section 160.505 for being the identified father of the child and there is not another identical brother being identified as the father of the child, the court may rely on nongenetic evidence to adjudicate which brother is the father of the child.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.511. Offense: Unauthorized Release of Specimen

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally releases an identifiable specimen of another person for any purpose not relevant to the parentage proceeding and without a court order or the written permission of the person who furnished the specimen.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER G. PROCEEDING TO ADJUDICATE PARENTAGE

§ 160.601. Proceeding Authorized; Rules of Procedure

(a) A civil proceeding may be maintained to adjudicate the parentage of a child.

(b) The proceeding is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.602. Standing to Maintain Proceeding
Subject to Subchapter D and Sections 160.607 and 160.609 and except as provided by Subsection (b), a proceeding to adjudicate parentage may be maintained by:

(1) the child;

(2) the mother of the child;

(3) a man whose paternity of the child is to be adjudicated;

(4) the support enforcement agency or another government agency authorized by other law;

(5) an authorized adoption agency or licensed child-placing agency;

(6) a representative authorized by law to act for an individual who would otherwise be entitled to maintain a proceeding but who is deceased, is incapacitated, or is a minor; or

(7) a person related within the second degree by consanguinity to the mother of the child, if the mother is deceased.

(b) After the date a child having no presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father becomes an adult, a proceeding to adjudicate the parentage of the adult child may only be maintained by the adult child.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 457, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1248, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 160.603. Necessary Parties to Proceeding
The following individuals must be joined as parties in a proceeding to adjudicate parentage:

(1) the mother of the child; and

(2) a man whose paternity of the child is to be adjudicated.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.604. Personal Jurisdiction

(a) An individual may not be adjudicated to be a parent unless the court has personal jurisdiction over the individual.

(b) A court of this state having jurisdiction to adjudicate parentage may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident individual or the guardian or conservator of the individual if the conditions in Section 159.201 are satisfied.

(c) Lack of jurisdiction over one individual does not preclude the court from making an adjudication of parentage binding on another individual over whom the court has personal jurisdiction.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.605. Venue
Venue for a proceeding to adjudicate parentage is in the county of this state in which:

(1) the child resides or is found;

(2) the respondent resides or is found if the child does not reside in this state; or

(3) a proceeding for probate or administration of the presumed or alleged father’s estate has been commenced.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.606. No Time Limitation: Child Having no Presumed, Acknowledged, or Adjudicated Father
A proceeding to adjudicate the parentage of a child having no presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father may be commenced at any time, including after the date:

(1) the child becomes an adult; or

(2) an earlier proceeding to adjudicate paternity has been dismissed based on the application of a statute of limitation then in effect.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.607. Time Limitation: Child Having Presumed Father

(a) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (b), a proceeding brought by a presumed father, the mother, or another individual to adjudicate the parentage of a child having a presumed father shall be commenced not later than the fourth anniversary of the date of the birth of the child.

(b) A proceeding seeking to disprove the father-child relationship between a child and the child’s presumed father may be maintained at any time if the court determines that:

(1) the presumed father and the mother of the child did not live together or engage in sexual intercourse with each other during the probable time of conception; and

(2) the presumed father never represented to others that the child was his own.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1248, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 160.608. Authority to Deny Motion for Genetic Testing

(a) In a proceeding to adjudicate parentage, a court may deny a motion for an order for the genetic testing of the mother, the child, and the presumed father if the court determines that:

(1) the conduct of the mother or the presumed father estops that party from denying parentage; and

(2) it would be inequitable to disprove the father-child relationship between the child and the presumed father.

(b) In determining whether to deny a motion for an order for genetic testing under this section, the court shall consider the best interest of the child, including the following factors:

(1) the length of time between the date of the proceeding to adjudicate parentage and the date the presumed father was placed on notice that he might not be the genetic father;

(2) the length of time during which the presumed father has assumed the role of father of the child;

(3) the facts surrounding the presumed father’s discovery of his possible nonpaternity;

(4) the nature of the relationship between the child and the presumed father;

(5) the age of the child;

(6) any harm that may result to the child if presumed paternity is successfully disproved;

(7) the nature of the relationship between the child and the alleged father;

(8) the extent to which the passage of time reduces the chances of establishing the paternity of another man and a child support obligation in favor of the child; and

(9) other factors that may affect the equities arising from the disruption of the father-child relationship between the child and the presumed father or the chance of other harm to the child.

(c) In a proceeding involving the application of this section, a child who is a minor or is incapacitated must be represented by an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem.

(d) A denial of a motion for an order for genetic testing must be based on clear and convincing evidence.

(e) If the court denies a motion for an order for genetic testing, the court shall issue an order adjudicating the presumed father to be the father of the child.

(f) This section applies to a proceeding to rescind or challenge an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity as provided by Section 160.309(d).
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1248, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 172, § 17, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.

§ 160.609. Time Limitation: Child Having Acknowledged or Adjudicated Father

(a) If a child has an acknowledged father, a signatory to the acknowledgment or denial of paternity may commence a proceeding seeking to rescind the acknowledgment or denial or to challenge the paternity of the child only within the time allowed under Section 160.307 or 160.308.

(b) If a child has an acknowledged father or an adjudicated father, an individual, other than the child, who is not a signatory to the acknowledgment or a party to the adjudication and who seeks an adjudication of paternity of the child must commence a proceeding not later than the fourth anniversary of the effective date of the acknowledgment or adjudication.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.610. Joinder of Proceedings

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a proceeding to adjudicate parentage may be joined with a proceeding for adoption, termination of parental rights, possession of or access to a child, child support, divorce, annulment, or probate or administration of an estate or another appropriate proceeding.

(b) A respondent may not join a proceeding described by Subsection (a) with a proceeding to adjudicate parentage brought under Chapter 159.Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

§ 160.611. Proceedings Before Birth

(a) A proceeding to determine parentage commenced before the birth of the child may not be concluded until after the birth of the child.

(b) In a proceeding described by Subsection (a), the following actions may be taken before the birth of the child:

(1) service of process;

(2) discovery; and

(3) except as prohibited by Section 160.502, collection of specimens for genetic testing.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, § 1.01, eff. June 14, 2001.