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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Tina was married to Ernest when a baby, S.C.L., was born. Ernest was named S.C.L.’s father on the birth certificate and was S.C.L.’s presumed father under Texas Family Code �160.204(b). Tina’s and Ernest’s parental rights to S.C.L. were terminated on Sept. 22, 2003, and the state was named managing conservator. Mark, who knew Tina was pregnant, has been named S.C.L.’s alleged father. On Jan. 22, 2004, well after S.C.L.’s birthday, Mark filed a petition to adjudicate paternity. The trial court granted the state’s motion to dismiss. On appeal, Mark argues that the statute that requires him to file a petition to adjudicate parentage within four years of a child’s birth is unconstitutional; that as the biological father, he as a natural right to seek conservatorship of his child. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court notes that in Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 1001 (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court determined that a father’s interest in establishing his parentage of his biological daughter was not constitutionally protected. A plurality of the court found that whether and when a biological father could seek to establish parentage was a matter of legislative policy. The court says the same conclusion must be reached under the Texas Constitution, too. The court then rejects Mark’s argument that he gained the right to seek conservatorship when Ernest’s parental rights were terminated. “Nothing in Texas law suggests that the termination of a presumed father’s parental rights somehow inures legal benefits to a biological father,” the court writes. Rather, termination of Ernest’s parental rights is specific to the parent-child relationship between Ernest L. and S.C.L., divesting Ernest L. and S.C.L of all legal rights, privileges, duties and powers normally existing between them, except for S.C.L.’s right to inherit. The court observes that had Ernest � or any other presumptive father � not been in the picture, Mark would have the right to seek conservatorship. The court concludes that these facts “raise an issue inviting legislative review.” OPINION:Wright, J.; Morris, Wright and Richter, JJ.

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