On September 1, 2011, a new law dealing with paternity issues became effective in Texas. The law allows men to challenge paternity even after a final paternity order was issued by a court. The law has the potential to affect thousands of families in Texas. If you doubt that you are truly the father of a child, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands how this new “mistaken paternity” law applies to you.
My name is Donald E. Robinowitz, and I have more than 20 years of experience as a family law attorney in Houston. Throughout my career, I have successfully handled many paternity cases and I know how important it is for parents and children to have a well-defined relationship. I stay up to date on changes in Texas family law, including the new mistaken paternity law. When you need a Harris County lawyer to help you assert your rights, call me.
Understanding The Texas Mistaken Paternity Law
Before the new law was passed, a man could not challenge paternity once a court entered a final order declaring him to be the father. Even if he took a DNA test that showed he was not actually the father, he was still bound by the court’s earlier order. The passage of the mistaken paternity law now gives men in this situation the right to terminate their parental rights and responsibilities.
Essentially, if a man is determined to be the father of a child and then later finds a legitimate reason to doubt paternity, he can file a challenge in court. When you come to my office, I will explain the details of the law and how it may apply to you. Here are some features of the law that are particularly important:
- If a man discovers a doubt about paternity after September 1, 2011, he must file a challenge in court within one year from the date he discovers the doubt.
- Men who had doubts about paternity prior to September 1, 2011, have until September 1, 2012, to file.
- After filing, a man can request a DNA test.
- If the DNA test shows that he is not the father, his parental rights will be terminated.
- Any obligation to pay child support will be terminated.
- The man cannot recover any child support that he paid while he was considered to be the father.
What About Visitation?
In some cases, a man who terminates paternity can still have visitation with the child. Visitation will only be allowed if it is in the best interests of the child. Visitation will not be allowed simply because the man still desires to see the child. If you would like to continue your relationship with a child, I can help you present your case effectively.
Contact A Harris County DNA Test Lawyer For A Free Consultation
When you have questions about paternity or if you believe you are not the father of a child, I am ready to help you. Arrange a free initial consultation by calling 713-893-1886 or toll free 888-587-9098. You can also contact my Houston law firm online.