There could be a number of reasons for mistaken paternity, but the key point is that a man who is believed to be a child’s parent and is no longer in a relationship with the mother could be paying child support for mistaken paternity. There is a protocol in the state to deal with this situation. An amendment to state law allows courts to end the parent-child relationship along with the requirement that the man who was believed to have been the father to pay for the child’s care. A man will receive genetic testing and if he is excluded as the child’s father, the relationship with the child and child support will be terminated.
A father who believes his paternity is mistaken has to file a petition to terminate the relationship and child support. There will be a pretrial hearing to determine if the requirements to proceed are met. If this is the case, there will be testing done to exclude the man as the father or prove that he is the father. From September 1, 2012 onward, the petition to terminate the relationship and payments must have been filed no later than the first anniversary that the man learned he was not the biological father.
After the relationship has been terminated because the father has been proven not to be the biological father, the child support order will end. This will occur on the date of the order. This will not end the child support obligations prior to that date or interest that accumulated. If there are prior payments of child support that were not made, the man will still have to pay them.
While it might seem to be a difficult and emotionally complicated circumstance in which a man who thought a child was his believes or learns that the child is not his, it still has to be dealt with legally. If the man has also been paying for the child’s care, it adds a financial component into the emotional mix. If there is a belief that there is mistaken paternity and child support paid when it did not have to be, speaking to a legal professional is key to get the matter sorted out.
Source: texasattorneygeneral.gov, “Mistaken Paternity,” accessed on Dec. 23, 2015