Time is about up on the Amnesty Provision of the New Texas Mistaken Paternity Law: September 1, 2012!
Think you are the “Father” before the birth of the child and would like to find out using a new procedure? Now you are in luck! A new blood test has just become available which can determine paternity as early as the eighth week of pregnancy without an invasive procedure that could potentially cause a miscarriage. This new test requires only blood samples from the pregnant woman and the potential father. The price of the prenatal testing is currently around $1500.00.
What does Texas Family Code 160.502 say about this genetic testing before the birth of the child? A court shall order a child on prima fascia proof and other designated individuals to submit to genetic testing if the request is made by a party to determine parentage. If a request for genetic testing of a child is made before the birth of the child, the court or support enforcement agency may not order utero testing. If two or more men are subject to court-ordered genetic testing, the testing may be ordered concurrently or sequentially.
Now it is time for “fathers” or men who have been paying child support for children who are not their biological children to assert their rights.
Texas new law, Texas SB785, permits men on prima fascia proof who have been ordered to pay child support, without genetic testing, to request genetic testing in order to determine whether they are the genetic parent of the child.
But the clock is ticking. If you suspect that you are paying child support for a child who is not your biological child, you should file the petition before September 1, 2012.
After September 1, 2012, a man must file a petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating that he is not the child’s genetic father.
In order to file for relief under this new law, the man must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or failed to contest paternity in the previous proceeding because of a mistaken belief that he was the child’s father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.
If the man had knowledge he was not the father at the time he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the previous court order, the new law does not apply.
If the genetic testing concludes that the man is not the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship and terminating the man’s obligation for future child support. The law further provides that he may not be held in contempt by the court for arrearage if the test is negative.
The new order, however, does not affect the man’s obligations for child support or child support arrearages accrued before the date of the order. However, the accrued obligations are not enforceable by contempt proceedings.
If the court order states that the father listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father and the information can be removed from the birth record, then the birth certificate can be revised as well.
Even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the man may request the court to order periods of possession or access to the child following the termination. The court may order periods of possession or access to the child only if the court determines that denial of possession or access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. The law directs the court to focus on the child’s well-being, not on the man or the mother’s wishes with regard to the man’s desire to continue seeing the child.
If you have been paying child support due to a mistaken belief that you were the father, the time to act is now. Remember the clock is ticking! If you suspect that you are paying child support for a child who is not your biological child, you should file the petition before September 1, 2012. If you wait to file for relief, you may be barred! Contact an attorney now!