NEW TEXAS STATUTE FOR DNA TESTING
It happened to Justin Bieber in 2011. A mentally unstable woman, with multiple sex partners (that didn’t include Justin), lied and said he was the father of her child. Justin didn’t take that allegation lying down. His team jumped on it and forced a quick end to the lies. But what happens when you don’t have any money, or worse yet, when you want to believe it really is your baby.
We hear a lot about “deadbeat dads.” A whole industry has grown up around forcing dads to pay child support. But if a woman lies and says you are the dad when you’re not, the same institutional machinery that grinds up and spits out deadbeat dads can steamroll right over the wrong guy and his entire real family.
Do you know someone that is paying child support, and now thinks they may not really be the biological father of the child?
2011 was a year of monumental changes in Texas Family Law. One of the most significant changes in a hundred years is the new statute allowing men to request paternity testing (DNA testing) even long after their divorce or paternity suit has been finalized. If the DNA test results show the child is not theirs, they can now FORCE the courts to terminate their child support – even if they continue to see and have a relationship with the child.
For over 100 years, Texas courts and judges forced men who were not the biological father of children to pay child support; even to the point of denying their real children food and shelter. The misery this has caused some families has been unbearable. Good husbands and fathers have been thrown in jail for not paying child support for children that everyone involved now acknowledge were not their children.
In 2011 the Texas legislature finally acknowledged that this was just wrong, and gave us a statute to right that injustice, BUT THERE IS A VERY NARROW WINDOW in which to do this. Section 161.005 of the Texas Family Code was amended effective May 12, 2011 to allow men previously adjudicated to be “fathers” to petition the court for DNA testing. Under the amended wording of the statute, if they are found not to be the biological father of the child, the court MUST terminate the parent child relationship – and along with it – the child support order.
However, there is a catch! Texas courts have demonstrated for decades a bias against terminating parent child relationships and child support obligations. Repeatedly courts have held that it was not in the best interest of the child to do so, and therefore declined to do so, even when a diligent lawyer was able to give them the opportunity to do it. There is a catch though. If you have find out that the child is not yours, or if you have reason to believe that the child is not yours, you can only terminate your child support if you file to do so within 12 months of the time you find out. If the court determines that you knew, or decides you should have known, you weren’t the father more than 12 months before you filed, then you will NOT qualify to terminate your parent child relationship or your child support – EVER!
I encourage anyone that knows someone that is paying child support, and that thinks they may not be the child’s real father, to tell them to contact an attorney immediately and not wait.
The Law Office of Dennis Fuller is located in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Fuller handles DNA paternity testing cases under the new statute throughout the state of Texas. To speak with Dennis Fuller about your legal concerns, contact us at 972-852-8500 to schedule an appointment today.