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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:R.A.H. was born to Maria Teresa Hernandez in 1995. Two years later, Robert Luis Avila filed a voluntary paternity suit. At a hearing on Aug. 27, 1997, Hernandez and Avila apparently agreed to the latter’s paternity and arrangements for child support and visitation. Though there is no record from the hearing, the parties aver that no genetic or other physical evidence was offered in support. The trial court signed a formal decree of paternity on Sept. 26, 1997. On Sept. 26, 2001, Christopher Jojola filed a petition to contest paternity. Along with the petitions, he filed DNA test results indicating a 99.9 percent probability that he is R.A.H.’s biological father. The court of appeals found Avila’s filing untimely based on a docket sheet entry from the earlier proceeding that indicates the trial court on Aug. 27, 1997 1. found Avila admitted paternity of R.A.H.; 2. established Avila as the possessory conservator of R.A.H.; and 3. arranged the visitation schedule for R.A.H. But no order was signed adjudicating paternity until Sept. 26, 1997. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Although the original adjudication of paternity occurred before the Uniform Parentage Act became effective, the paternity contest at issue here was commenced after that date. The act, as adopted by Texas, “applies to a motion or other request for relief made in a parentage or paternity proceeding that is commenced on or after the effective date of this Act.” The act became effective June 14, 2001, more than three months before Jojola filed his petition. Accordingly, the act governs this case. Under the act, a man who has never married a child’s mother may establish a father-child relationship only by 1. an acknowledgment filed with the bureau of vital statistics; 2. an adjudication in a civil proceeding; or 3. adoption. Texas Family Code �160.201(b). Avila established such a relationship by the earlier adjudication. Because Jojola was not a party, he had four years after the “effective date” of that adjudication to file his own adjudication for paternity. “When there is a question concerning the date judgment was rendered, the date the judgment was signed prevails over a conflicting docket sheet entry.” Garza v. Tex. Alcoholic Beverage Comm’n, 89 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. 2002). The courtr agrees with the court of appeals that the “effective date” referenced in the Uniform Parentage Act should be the date the prior adjudication was rendered and that judgment is rendered “when the decision is officially announced orally in open court, by memorandum filed with the clerk, or otherwise announced publicly.” But in this case, there is no record or evidence of an oral pronouncement at the August 1997 paternity hearing, and the only written memorandum is the unsigned docket sheet. The court holds judgment was rendered and paternity adjudicated on Sept. 26, 1997, when the trial judge signed the paternity decree. OPINION:Per curiam.

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