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Mistaken Paternity in Texas

“What if I have been ordered to pay child support for a child whom I do not believe is mine?” According to the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, “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.”

If a man meets the state’s requirements under the law, he is entitled to ask for court-ordered genetic testing (DNA test). If the genetic test determines that a man is not the child’s biological father, the court can proceed to terminate the parent-child relationship and the man’s legal obligation to pay child support in the future.

Even if the court terminates a man’s duty to pay future child support, the court order does not absolve the man of any child support arrears that accrued up to the termination date. He is still responsible for the arrears, as well as any interest that accrued after the date the parent-child relationship was terminated.

What to Do if You Question Paternity

Are you a legal father who is questioning your paternity as well as your obligation to pay child support for a child who may not be yours? If you wish to uncover the truth, you are required under Texas law to file a petition to terminate your parent-child relationship pursuant to TFC § 161.005(c). The family court may elect to hold a pretrial hearing to determine if you, the petitioner, meet the state’s legal requirements to move forward with the case.

If you meet the requirements to proceed, the court will order you and the child to take a DNA test. If the genetic test determines that you are not the child’s biological father, the court should move to terminate your parent-child relationship.