Mistaken Paternity in Texas

In cases involving mistaken paternity, Texas law now provides provisions regarding the duty to pay child support and termination of the parent-child relationship.

A child support order terminates on the issuance of an order terminating the parent-child relationship between the obligor and the child based on the results of genetic testing that exclude the obligor as the child’s genetic father. However, a final order does not affect an obligor’s obligation for support of a child incurred before that the final order date, or to pay interest that accrues after that date on the basis of child support arrearages existing after that date. Also, a termination suit may be brought by a man who signed an acknowledgement of paternity without first obtaining genetic testing. Additionally, an adjudicated father in a prior proceeding under Title 5 of the Family Code where genetic testing did not occur, may also bring a suit for termination.

In the termination suit, the father must attest, under oath, that {1) he is not the child’s genetic father; and (2) he signed the acknowledgment of paternity or failed to contest parentage because of the mistaken belief that he was the child’s genetic father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.

A mistaken father must act quickly, however. Beginning September 1, 2012, generally, a petition must be filed not later than the first anniversary of the date on which the mistaken father becomes aware he is not the child’s genetic father.

There may be other laws that affect a mistaken paternity case. It is imperative that you contact a family law attorney who is familiar with all the laws.