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How to challenge paternity in Texas

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Family Law

The state legislature has made changes to the Texas Family Code to permit courts to do away with the parent-child relationship and the obligation to pay child support in cases of mistaken paternity. If you need to challenge paternity, here are some important things to know about family law.

What’s the first step?

A DNA test is necessary to establish paternity when a man is required to pay child support but believes that he is not the father of the child. It is best to seek testing by an AABB lab.

According to Texas family law, the man who is questioning whether he is legally responsible for a child must file a petition. The petition must clearly request that the court terminate the parent-child relationship.

What happens next?

The family law court has to hold a pretrial to determine if the man meets the legal criteria to accelerate the case. If he does, the legal father and the child must submit genetic testing.

If the test results reveal that the legal father is not the child’s biological father, the court can order a termination of the parent-child relationship. This relieves the legal father of paying child support.

Additional considerations

If a man questions his paternity, it is important to note that the Office of the Attorney General is not permitted to terminate the parent-child relationship on behalf of the man who has been paying child support. The office must be made aware of the petition after the petition is filed with the court.

A final order to terminate the parent-child relationship will end the legal father’s obligation to pay any more child support. This termination goes into effect on the date the order is final. All child support that is not paid up to the date of the order must be paid since the termination order does not negate unpaid support.