Many men pay child support for children that are not their biological children. Mistaken paternity happens for a variety of reasons. The 82nd Texas Legislature amended the Texas Family Code to allow courts to terminate the parent-child relationship and the duty to pay child support in circumstances of mistaken paternity.
A man alleging mistaken paternity must file a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship. The petition states why the man believes he is not the biological father. The court holds a pretrial hearing to determine if the man meets the legal requirements for the case to proceed. Next, the court will order the man and the child to submit to genetic testing. If genetic testing results exclude the petitioner as the child’s biological father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship.
The court may also order the termination of child support. This does not relieve the man of past child support amounts. The man has one year from the time he learns that he is not the child’s biological father to file the petition.
The man may request to continue access or possession of the child prior to the order terminating his rights. The court may order continued access or possession if the court finds the child’s physical or emotional well-being will be impaired by denying continued access and possession.