A man who is paying child support for a child that he mistakenly thought was his own child may be able to seek termination of the parent-child relationship and the duty to pay child support. The case must meet certain requirements in order to proceed.
Terminating Child Support in the Case of Mistaken Paternity
First, a petition is filed in family court. A hearing is held and if the judge determines that certain criteria are met, genetic testing will be ordered.
If the genetic testing confims that the man is not the biological parent of the child, the judge may terminate parental rights and the duty to pay future child support. However, the man will still have to pay any arrearage (back child support) that is due prior to the date of the court order terminating that duty.
A man who learns that he is not the genetic father of a child has only one year to file a petition in court.
Filing such a petition should be carefully thought through, because it is a serious matter. A man who has truly been a father to a child may not want to change that, and may decide that biology doesn’t matter.
Terminating the parent-child relationship is always a serious matter that affects the lives of many people.
A consultation with a family law attorney can help determine the best course of action. Additional information can also be found on the Texas Attorney General website under the Child Support Division.