May 2019 | No. A-18-339 (Neb. Ct. App. 2019)

Dowding v. Dowding (Nebraska 2019)

A signed and notarized paternity acknowledgement is a legal finding, which can only be challenged on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. A challenge to an acknowledgment must be properly before the court. The parents had a child, and the father signed a paternity acknowledgement immediately after his birth. Several years later, the parents later married. During their divorce proceeding, the mother filed a “Rescission of Acknowledgment of Paternity,” a document, not a legal pleading. The father filed a motion to strike the rescission. The district court found that the filing was not a proper legal pleading and granted the father’s motion to strike. The mother made an oral motion for leave to amend her pleadings, which the district court also denied. The final order granted custody to the father subject to the mother’s parenting time. The mother appealed the district court’s denial of her motion to amend her pleading to challenge paternity. The appellate court affirmed the decision. It found that the issue of the child’s paternity was not properly before the court and to amend her pleading would not have made a difference.

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