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Challenging a child support order by denying paternity

In order for a Texas court to terminate the child support requirements assessed against a man who has subsequently denied paternity, the man must file the claim personally. If he signed an acknowledgement of paternity at the time of the child's birth or the court established his paternity, he would need to state in his petition that he believed that he was the child's biological father at the time.

The man must file his mistaken paternity claim within a year of the date that he became aware that he is not the child's biological father. If the man's child support case originated in the Office of the Attorney General, the office must receive a notice after the man files the petition with the court. The first step in processing the case requires a genetic test on both the man and the child. If the results exclude the man as the child's father, the court will terminate the parent-child relationship.

The man must continue to make child support payments until the court terminates the relationship. He must also make up any arrears, which will continue to incur interest after the termination date. The court may allow the man to maintain a relationship with the child if he requests the right to do so prior to the termination date. The court will only grant this access if denying it would seriously impair the child's well-being or health.

If a man realizes after a divorce that he is not the father of a child for which he is paying support, an attorney may be able to help him file his mistaken paternity claim after an explanation of the process.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Mistaken Paternity", October 30, 2014

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