For years, it was almost impossible to overturn a case of mistaken paternity even if a genetic test clearly indicated that a man was not the father. Fortunately, Texas law now recognizes advances in DNA technology and gives men the opportunity to contest their paternity and end future financial obligations.
To challenge paternity, a father must first file a petition to terminate the relationship with the child. A court hearing will be held to determine if there is enough evidence to challenge paternity and take a court-ordered DNA test. If the DNA test proves that the man is not the father, future child support payments will be terminated. A man that is successful in his mistaken paternity case will not be reimbursed for any past child support payments and he will still be responsible for all back child support payments. Additionally, it may be possible for the man to still have visitation rights even after the conclusion of the case.
There is a time limitation to pursue a mistaken paternity case. For fathers who currently doubt their paternity, the law provides one year from the effective date of the law, September 1, 2011 to September 1, 2012, to challenge paternity. After this one year window, a man must file within one year of the date on which he learns that he is not the genetic or biological father.
It is therefore extremely important that, as soon as you learn any facts which may lead you to believe you are not the father, you come talk to our Dallas Family Lawyers at Cook & Gore immediately. We can help walk you through this process and understand your rights.