The first of this month marked a deadline that aimed to aid Texas men paying child support to children that they are not the father of. Reportedly, there are 128,000 men in the state that are paying support for children that are not theirs. This may seem strange, but under Texas law in years past, if a man learned that he was paying child support for children that were not his, he was not entitled to end support payments because that would be contrary to the best interest of the child.
According to one family law attorney, “There is no justice in a non-father paying child support for someone else’s child.” In this vein, men in Texas paying child support had until the first of this month to petition a court for paternity testing that could absolve them of parental responsibility.
Obviously, the first of the month (Sept. 2012) has passed, however this doesn’t mean that there is no hope for Texas men questioning the paternity of the children they are paying child support for. They can still petition a court, but only if they discovered in the last year that they are not the father.
Additionally, if a formerly-paying individual is absolved of parental responsibility, they do still owe any back support. The intricacies of parental responsibility and paternity can be confusing, particularly in the light of changing laws. If a Texas individual is concerned about their child support payments or the paternity of their child, that individual may do well to consult with experienced legal counsel.
Source: KVUE, “New law gives men chance to fight mistaken paternity,” Aug. 30, 2012