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Change in Child Support Law Creates Complications – A Family Lawyer Can Guide You

Change in Child Support Law Creates Complications – A Family Lawyer Can Guide You

Child Support Law Changes

Child Support

Changes to Child Support

Last year, Texas revised many of its family laws. Before these revisions, Texas was one of the few states to maintain that biological parentage was not as important as the appearance of parentage to a child. This meant that if a couple was married there was an immediate assumption that any child born during this marriage must have been fathered by the husband. Texas law insisted on these principles even in some cases where the parentage was clearly not within the marriage and a family attorney had presented evidence of that fact.

In May of 2011, Texas lawmakers changed some critical wording in Texas Family Law § Section 161.005. The law states that any man, who has been paying child support for a child that he does not believe that he fathered, can request a DNA sample. If the ensuing test of that sample proves that the child is not his biological child, then he will no longer be required to pay child support. Family attorneys petitioned the court to allow someone to continue their emotional paternity of the child with visitation and bonding, without having to pay for child support. Many Texas men have been paying child support for years on children whom they knew were not their biological children.

New Guidelines

There are a few guidelines to consider. The first is that there is an initial retroactive deadline. This deadline is September 1, 2012. If a man who has been paying child support files evidence that he is not the biological father of the child in question by this date, then he does not have to continue to pay. Once the September 1, 2012 deadline passes the system becomes even more complex. After this date, a man may be locked into paying child support even if he is not the biological father based on whether or not he was aware of the child’s true paternity before the deadline passed.

One important consideration is that since Texas judges have historically been reluctant to sever parental ties regardless of genetic evidence, they are still likely to balk at this legislation. In order to ensure that the judge is handling the case with the true intent of the law considered, a man in this unique situation should contact a family attorney before going to court or filing any motions under this new law.

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