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Can I Stop Paying Child Support if I Find Out the Child Is Not Mine?

 Posted on December 22, 2022 in Divorce

TX family lawyerRelationships often end because of infidelity, but even when a relationship ends for other reasons, infidelity may still have been present with or without one partner’s knowledge. Because genetic testing is inexpensive and widely available, some fathers find out unexpectedly that the child they believed was theirs, and which they have cared for and financially supported for many years, is not actually their own.

Understandably, this can cause a man serious distress. Feelings of anger, hurt, and betrayal are common, as is confusion over whether a man who is not the genetic parent of a child wants to keep contributing emotionally and financially to that child’s life. If you are a parent who has been paying child support for a child who turned out not to be your own, you deserve to know your options. Contact a Texas child support attorney for help.

Get a Court Order to Terminate Child Support

It is important not to stop making child support payments without court permission. Even if you find out a child is not yours using a private genetic testing service, you will likely still need to seek genetic testing through the state to prove you are not the father. For sure you will need to file a petition with the court to terminate the parent-child relationship and your child support obligation. You may also need to prove that you relied on misinformation when you assumed you were the child’s parent; for example, if you were married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth and the law assumed you were the child’s parent, you may have assumed so as well.

The court will hold a pretrial hearing to ensure you meet the case's requirements. If you do, the court will require you and your alleged child to get a paternity test. If you are not the father, the court may terminate your parental relationships and your child support payments right away - but you will still owe any child support that you had not paid prior to the order being terminated.

If you have acted as the child’s father for many years and have a strong relationship with the child, the court may not approve your petition. These cases can be complicated and the outcome often hinges on how long a man has been involved in a child’s life, whether there is another man who is claiming parentage or who has a father-like relationship with the child, whether the mother’s representation of the wrong man as the child’s father was deliberate, and more. If a man knew that a child was likely not biologically his, but has continued supporting and raising the child, the court may consider that a case of paternity by estoppel and refuse to allow the man to stop supporting the child just because the relationship with the child’s mother ended.

Contact a Bexar County Child Support Lawyer Now

If you have reason to believe that you have been paying child support for a child who is not genetically yours and whom you never adopted, contact a San Antonio child support attorney with Brandon Wong & Associates today. We will work quickly to help you understand your options and figure out how to terminate your child support obligation while protecting your legal rights. Call 210-201-3832 now.



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