TIME IS TICKING on the New Texas Mistaken Paternity Law
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 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 must 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 knew 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 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’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 must file the petition before September 1, 2012. If you wait to file for relief, you will be barred! Contact an attorney now!
Texas SB785: Termination of parent-child relationship due to mistaken Paternity
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!