Texas Senate Bill 785- Termination of the parent-child relationship and duty to pay child support in circumstances involving mistaken paternity.
After a battle spanning three legislative sessions over a six- year period, Texas SB785 became law effective May 12, 2011.
The new law addresses this situation: a man signs an acknowledgment of paternity for a child or was adjudicated to be the father of the child in a previous proceeding without genetic testing. Subsequently, the man finds evidence of misrepresentations concerning whether he is really the child’s genetic father.
The “father” must file a petition to terminate no later than the first anniversary of the date he becomes aware of the facts that indicate he is not the child’s genetic father.
A court hearing will be held to determine whether the petitioner and child will submit to genetic testing to determine the parent-child relationship.
If the result of genetic testing excludes the petitioner as the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship.
The new court order ends the petitioner’s obligation for future support of the child effective on the date the order is rendered. This new order, however, does not affect the petitioner’s obligations for child support or any child support arrearages accrued before the date that the new order was rendered.
The petitioner may also request the court order periods of possession or access to the child following termination of the parent-child relationship. The court may order possession or access to the child only if it determines that denial of possession or access to the child would impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.
The changes in law made by this Act apply to any order for child support regardless of when the child support order was rendered.
Texas has finally made it a law that a misrepresentation of the truth cannot hold a man to a false parental obligation for 18 years!