A person may rescind a Texas acknowledgement of paternity no later than 60 days after its effective date, or earlier if a court proceeding on an issue relating to the child is initiated. Once this time passes, the party may challenge the acknowledgement only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. Tex. Fam. Code § 160.307. Under current law, a proceeding challenging the acknowledgment may be commenced any time before an order affecting the child is issued. Tex. Fam. Code § 160.308. That statute was amended in 2011, however. Suits challenging acknowledgements signed before September 1, 2011 must be filed within four years of the date the acknowledgement was filed with the state.
In a recent case, a man, identified in the appeals court’s opinion by the pseudonym “William,” attempted to challenge an Acknowledgement of Paternity he had signed and filed in 2005. William petitioned the trial court to set aside the acknowledgment in September 2019 “on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.” He did not, however, make specific allegations. The mother argued the petition was time-barred.
Only William testified at the trial. The mother did not appear or participate. The trial court found the petition was untimely and denied it.