In 2011, the Texas Legislature amended Family Code section 161.005 to allow
an adjudicated father who is paying
child support for a child that is not biologically his, to file to have the child support
stopped. In the past, the law in Texas has always been that once a father
was ordered by a court to pay child support, even if he found out later
the child was not his; he still had to pay child support.
The new child support law has 2 criteria that have to be met in order to
have the court order that the child support payments get stopped:
1) The father that is being ordered to pay child support must not actually
be the child’s genetic father. This can be proven with a DNA test
by the father and the child, and
2) The father previously either signed an acknowledgement of paternity
or had failed to contest his paternity of the child because he had been
mislead into believing he was the child’s father when the child
support order was made.
If both of these criteria are met, the father can file a lawsuit to terminate
his own rights to the child, and therefore the duty to pay child support,
in the future, would also terminate. However, if there are any past due
amounts of child support that have not been paid, the father will still
owe those past due arrearages.
It does not seem fair that a father could still owe the past due support
once he finds out he is not the father, but the legislature did not allow
the past due support to be waived. The one bright spot on the issue of
past due support is that the father cannot be held in contempt for the
past due support, which means he cannot face jail time for failure to
pay the past due amounts.
Additionally, even if the father has his rights terminated and duty to
pay child support stopped, he can still ask the court to award him
visitation and access to the child. So the father can stop the child support but can continue to have the
relationship with the child, if the father so desires.
If you believe you are paying child support for a child that is not biologically
yours, and you would like to stop that child support obligation,
contact Dennis M. Slate today.
My firm serves the areas of Deer Park,
Alvin, Channelview, Galena Park, Katy, Manvel, Shoreacres, Kingwood, The Woodlands,
New Caney, Porter, Spring, Humble, Hedwig Village, Bunker Hill Village,
Harris County, Montgomery County, Chambers County, Galveston County, and
Fort Bend County.