Board-Certified Family Law Specialist
Paying Child Support for Someone Else's Child...?

Paying Child Support for Someone Else's Child...?

Mistaken Paternity

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.

Dennis

My firm serves the areas of Deer Park, Houston, Clear Lake, Friendswood, League City, Kemah, La Porte, Seabrook, Webster, Texas City, Galveston, Dickinson, Pasadena, Baytown, Bellaire, Pearland, Angleton, 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.

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