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Texas law allows men to challenge paternity and end child support

A veteran of the U.S. Navy and recent college graduate married his high school sweetheart early in his life and while in boot camp his wife became pregnant. He told a local news channel that during his service he would often be separated from her for six or seven months at a time while on military leave. The couple separated and eventually divorced and he began paying $450 per month in child support.

After awhile the man noticed that his child looked a lot like the man his now ex-wife was seeing prior to her dating him and he started questioning whether he was actually the child's biological father. He had a strong suspicion he was not the child's father, but at the time it would not have mattered to the court whether or not he was the father.

All that changed last year, as we reported in a previous post, when a new Texas statute allowed men to challenge the paternity of a child. Some family law attorneys say that these types of cases involve men paying child support for years when they never should have been. Prior to this change in the law, men would have to continue to pay child support even if they could prove through a paternity test they were not the biological father of the child.

One family law attorney said that in every case he has had regarding this change in the law, the father did not even have a relationship with the child he was paying child support for. And there is nothing to prevent the mother from tracking down the real biological father to obtain a child support order from him.

The Navy veteran had his day in court recently and, after 16 years of paying child support and a court-ordered paternity test, he has been cleared from financial responsibility for the child and can now concentrate on supporting his wife and son after working two jobs to support both families for so many years.

There is one caveat to this law however. If a man knew he was not the biological father of a child he was paying child support for prior to September 1st, 2011, he only has until September 1st, of this year to go back to court to have the support order reviewed and possibly overturned.

Source: KDAF TV, "Some Men Could Soon No Longer Pay Child Support," Daniel Novick, June 13, 2012

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