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  S.B. No. 502
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to determinations of paternity; creating an offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subsection (a), Section 160.302, Family Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (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].
         SECTION 2.  Section 160.306, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 160.306.  FILING FEE NOT REQUIRED. The bureau of vital
  statistics may not charge a fee for filing:
               (1)  an acknowledgment of paternity;
               (2)  a [or] denial of paternity; or
               (3)  a rescission of an acknowledgment of paternity or
  denial of paternity.
         SECTION 3.  Section 160.307, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 160.307.  PROCEDURES [PROCEEDING] FOR RESCISSION.  (a)  
  A signatory may rescind an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of
  paternity as provided by this section [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 is initiated before a court to
  adjudicate an issue relating to the child, including a proceeding
  that establishes child support.
         (b)  A signatory seeking to rescind an acknowledgment of
  paternity or denial of paternity must file with the bureau of vital
  statistics a completed rescission, on the form prescribed under
  Section 160.312, in which the signatory declares under penalty of
  perjury that:
               (1)  as of the date the rescission is filed, a
  proceeding has not been held affecting the child identified in the
  acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity, including a
  proceeding to establish child support;
               (2)  a copy of the completed rescission was sent by
  certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to:
                     (A)  if the rescission is of an acknowledgment of
  paternity, the other signatory of the acknowledgment of paternity
  and the signatory of any related denial of paternity; or
                     (B)  if the rescission is of a denial of
  paternity, the signatories of the related acknowledgment of
  paternity; and
               (3)  if a signatory to the acknowledgment of paternity
  or denial of paternity is receiving services from the Title IV-D
  agency, a copy of the completed rescission was sent by certified or
  registered mail to the Title IV-D agency.
         (c)  On receipt of a completed rescission, the bureau of
  vital statistics shall void the acknowledgment of paternity or
  denial of paternity affected by the rescission and amend the birth
  record of the child, if appropriate.
         (d)  Any party affected by the rescission, including the
  Title IV-D agency, may contest the rescission by bringing a
  proceeding under Subchapter G to adjudicate the parentage of the
  child.
         SECTION 4.  Subsections (a) and (c), Section 160.308, Family
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (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 may [must] be commenced
  at any time before the issuance of an order affecting the child
  identified in [fourth anniversary of the date] the acknowledgment
  or denial, including an order relating to support of the child [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].
         (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 issuance of an order
  affecting the child identified in the acknowledgment, including an
  order relating to support of the child [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].
         SECTION 5.  Section 160.309, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 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.
         SECTION 6.  Section 160.312, Family Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 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:
               (1)  acknowledgment of paternity;
               (2)  [and the] denial of paternity; and
               (3)  rescission of an acknowledgment or denial of
  paternity.
         (b)  A valid acknowledgment of paternity, [or] denial of
  paternity, or rescission of an acknowledgment or denial of
  paternity is not affected by a later modification of the prescribed
  form.
         SECTION 7.  Subchapter F, Chapter 160, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Section 160.512 to read as follows:
         Sec. 160.512.  OFFENSE:  FALSIFICATION OF SPECIMEN.  (a)  A
  person commits an offense if the person alters, destroys, conceals,
  fabricates, or falsifies genetic evidence in a proceeding to
  adjudicate parentage, including inducing another person to provide
  a specimen with the intent to affect the outcome of the proceeding.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a felony of the third
  degree.
         (c)  An order excluding a man as the biological father of a
  child based on genetic evidence shown to be altered, fabricated, or
  falsified is void and unenforceable.
         SECTION 8.  Subsection (b), Section 160.607, Family Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A proceeding seeking to adjudicate the parentage of a
  child having a [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; or [and]
               (2)  the presumed father was precluded from commencing
  a proceeding to adjudicate the parentage of the child before the
  expiration of the time prescribed by Subsection (a) because of the
  mistaken belief that he was the child's biological father based on
  misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion [never
  represented to others that the child was his own].
         SECTION 9.  Subsection (f), Section 160.608, Family Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (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).
         SECTION 10.  Subsection (a), Section 160.609, Family Code,
  is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  If a child has an acknowledged father, a signatory to
  the acknowledgment or denial of paternity may commence a proceeding
  under this chapter [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.
         SECTION 11.  (a)  The changes in law made by this Act with
  respect to an acknowledgment or denial of paternity apply only to an
  acknowledgment or denial of paternity that becomes effective on or
  after the effective date of this Act.  An acknowledgment or denial
  of paternity that became effective before the effective date of
  this Act is governed by the law in effect at the time the
  acknowledgment or denial of paternity became effective, and the
  former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (b)  The changes in law made by this Act with respect to a
  proceeding to adjudicate parentage apply only to a proceeding that
  is commenced on or after the effective date of this Act.  A
  proceeding to adjudicate parentage commenced before the effective
  date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the
  proceeding was commenced, and the former law is continued in effect
  for that purpose.
         SECTION 12.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 502 passed the Senate on
  March 24, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 27, 2011, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 502 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 20, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 149,
  Nays 0, one present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor