However it happened, you’ve come to suspect that the child you’re financially supporting through court-ordered payments isn’t biologically related to you. Is it possible to end your support payments — or are you simply stuck?
Texas does sometimes allow a man to petition the court to terminate the parent-child relationship if their biological tie is questionable. It’s important to understand, however, that mistaken paternity claims are not always simple cases — even if you turn out not to be the child’s biological father.
What are some of the rules regarding termination of paternity?
To proceed with the case, you generally only have a year in which to act on the information that has caused you to question your paternity. In addition, you must:
● Not have signed an agreement stating your intent to establish paternity through adoption, in-vitro, artificial insemination or other assisted reproductive methods
● Have relied on misinformation when you assumed paternity
Paternity must have been established either via a court order or through an acknowledgment of paternity form — and you must have genuinely believed you were the child’s father at the time.
If the court determines that you meet the requirements to go forward with your petition, DNA testing from a court-approved lab will be ordered. If you are not the child’s father, the court will then entertain arguments about whether or not to terminate your legal relationship.
What are some other key points to know about mistaken paternity?
The court may not approve your petition, particularly if you have already established significant bonds with the child before the revelation about his or her paternity.
Even if you are eventually successful or believe you will be, you must not stop paying child support until the court terminates the order. Any unpaid child support will still be due, along with any applicable interest.
In addition, you need to be conscious of the fact that if your paternity is terminated, all your parental rights (including visitation) will also end.
What should you do next?
If you want to proceed with a mistaken paternity claim, please continue exploring our site or contact us directly to learn how we might be able to help.