There are few things in this world as heartbreaking as a man discovering a child he taken care of since birth may not be his. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens more than many would like to admit. Some men may not find out that a child is not theirs for years – often paying thousands of dollars in Texas child support before they ever find out. However, a Texas bill has made it possible for these men to end their child support obligations for child proven not theirs with DNA evidence.
Texas Paternity Bill
Texas Governor Perry signed Senate Bill 785 last year on May 12, 2011. This bill specifically allows those men previously thought to be fathers to be released from child support obligations if they disprove paternity with a court-ordered DNA test.
However, even though those men proven not the father will no longer have financial obligations for the child, they will not be able to get the money back they already paid and they will still have to pay the support obligations they still currently owe.
But, since child support obligations can add up to the tens of thousands, it is important for those who believe they are not biological fathers to get going on DNA testing – especially since a deadline is quickly approaching.
Specifically, those men who currently have reason to believe that a child is not theirs have until September 1, 2012, to challenge paternity. For those who discover after that date that they may not be the father have one year to file a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship.
Now some may think that is still a lot of time, but it can sometimes take months just to track down ex-wives, not to mention to get the DNA tests done.
Some legal experts recommend getting a preliminary DNA test done to establish paternity – which can often be bought at local drug stores. Although not admissible in court as evidence, these tests may determine whether hiring an attorney to end your child support obligation is a good idea.
Source: CBS DFW, “DNA Test Deadline Nears For Texas Dads,” Feb. 20, 2012