When a baby is born to a married couple, there is a presumption that the husband is the legal father of the child. That gives him parental rights and responsibilities including child support. However, if you suspect that you are not the father, there are options for you. The Texas Family Code allows you to ask the court to end the parent-child relationship between you and the child under certain conditions. This will be a case to determine mistaken paternity when you have been ordered to pay child support but you believe that you are not the child’s genetic father.
You can exercise your rights to terminate the parental relationship with the child even if you signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity or had a judge establish paternity. The only condition is that you did not take a DNA test beforehand. You are still required to meet the existing child support obligations you still owe. However, you can terminate any future obligations to pay child support.
Challenging Child Support Obligations For Mistaken Paternity
File A Petition
You or your attorney can file the petition to the court asking the court to terminate the parent-child relationship. You will need to meet the legal requirements below.
- You’re not the biological father of the child
- You mistakenly concluded you were the biological father due to misrepresentation
- You signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity or had a judge establish you as the legal father without first getting a paternity test. It is required to show that you did not contest parentage at the time because you mistakenly believed you were the biological father.
- There was no legal adoption of your children on your part
- You are not the intended father based on a gestational agreement validated by the court
- You did not agree to assisted reproduction to conceive the child
- The petition was filed within two years of the date you discovered the mistaken paternity
Attend Pretrial Hearing
You and your attorney will need to present your case about why there is a strong possibility that you are not the biological father of a child. If you can sufficiently call paternity into question, the Texas court may legally require you to take a paternity test.
Go For Genetic Testing
You will need to go for genetic testing with an accredited lab.
Attend Final Hearing
If the paternity test has established that you are not the genetic parent, the judge will sign a court order terminating the parent-child relationship. This will mean you need not pay future child support. However, you will still have to pay the child support obligation that you currently owe.
Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review
Want to challenge your obligations due to mistaken paternity? Let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch + Associates law firm help you prepare your legal case. We have decades of experience in family law.
Contact us today for a no-cost case review.