The Houston Family Law Blog

SB 785 Allows Fathers to Challenge Paternity

Fathers now have the right to file a petition in court and submit to DNA testing if they have reason to believe that they are not the father of a child that they once claimed was theirs, reports The Beaumont Enterprise. Thanks to Senate Bill 785, men can now challenge paternity and can have their child support obligations terminated if a judge finds that a person has been wrongfully declared the father.

SB 785 passed in the Texas Legislature in May with a unanimous vote in both the House and the Senate. The law went into effect immediately and is now has the potential to help out dads around the state who have been victims of paternity fraud.

Before the passage of SB 785, men were not able to challenge paternity if they had already accepted paternity and the parental rights of a child. This would mean that some men would end up paying child support for 18 years for a child that they knew and the courts knew was not theirs.

Family law attorneys say that it's good that alleged fathers now have more rights when it comes to paternity testing and the challenging of paternity. However, it's important to realize that even with this new law, courts will not reimburse a parent for child support payments that have already been made. So if a DNA test reveals that a 17-year-old child does not belong to a father, the man cannot be paid back the 17 years worth of child support payments.

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