Bill Ingvall uses a tag line – Here’s Your Sign. I have noticed in my Paternity Fraud cases that the number one sign that this isn’t your child is if mom is actively or passively blocking your access to the child. If mom isn’t encouraging and actively supporting a relationship, if you haven’t seen the child in years and she doesn’t tell you when she moves – then Here’s Your Sign! The odds are – that’s not your child.
In my practice I have seen so many horror stories where lives were ruined over this. In all these years, the only case I have seen where the mom hadn’t totally blocked any type of relationship between the father and the child, dad was a great dad for 16 years and then mom spitefully told the child one day, “he isn’t your real dad; you don’t have to listen to him and you don’t have to go see him any more if you don’t want to.” Talk about a messed up 16 year old. He was angry at the world until this statute came along. The associate judge denied our request for relief from this ambiguous stalemate when we first asked her to help last February (before the statute passed) because it wasn’t “in the best interest of the child.” That left mom, dad and the kid stuck for months. But in June we went back and got the order we needed. Guess what – he was the dad! The young man’s relationship with his dad was immediately healed, and with that, his relationship with his mother has started to heal as well (though it was her spitefulness that started the whole mess in the first place). But without a DNA test, without the new statute, we would have had another three lives wrecked. With a DNA test, the lives of all three were redeemed.
This is an area where the path is clear. I’ve had two mom’s tell the court terminating the relationship (and child support) is “the only right thing to do,” in cases where everyone has known for years this isn’t his kid. This statute passed in the legislature unanimously. Republicans and Democrats all supported it. But it has only two teeth and those are going to be pulled in September, because of changes in the legislation that were required by the AG’s office. In September it will become a toothless mockery, and will bar what those mom’s acknowledged was “the only right thing to do.” We need at least four teeth in this statute and they need to be permanent teeth, not baby teeth.
Texas new Paternity Fraud statute was a step in the right direction, but it was only a step – not a leap to the finish. This statute needs amending and extending.