If you doubt that you are the biological father of a child for which you are legally responsible, you have options available to you.
To stop paying child support for a child that is not biologically yours, you will have to exercise your legal rights to deny paternity.
Emotion and responsibility
You may have been excited to welcome a child into the world with your significant other. You may have loved your girlfriend’s newborn like it was your own and signed on as father to provide support and stability for her. You may have signed the birth certificate because it was simply the right thing to do.
Even if you have a great relationship with the child, you are not obligated to pay child support if you can prove the child is not yours and you are able to follow through with terminating your legal obligations.
If you believe you are not the biological father of a child, you will need to have tests performed by an accredited lab. This may be done before or after a pretrial hearing begins.
There are several labs in the Houston area accredited by the AABB, the American Association of Blood Banks that are approved by the Texas Attorney General. You can also find an accredited lab near you by calling the AOP Hotline. You can sometimes do these tests at home, and often they are as simple as swabbing a cheek with a cotton swab.
Forms to file
The paperwork at this step is designed to protect you throughout the process. Contacting an attorney would be the best way to start this process. The following paperwork will need to be filed:
- File a petition with the court to terminate your parent-child obligations.
- Undergo a paternity test
- Collect all receipts of past child support payments
If you have already said you are the father by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) you will have to do the following:
- File a “Rescission of the Acknowledgement of Paternity”form (VS-158)
- Within 60 days of filing the AOP
- Before a legal proceeding
- If you signed the birth certificate, you may have to cover the costs for a legal paternity test
- Can cost up to $500
In addition to any court, filing, and attorney fees you will need to pay any unpaid child support or interest payments. If the court terminates your parental obligations, it will not eliminate these debts.
Even if the court finds you are not legally responsible for the child, it does not mean you have to terminate your relationship with the child. If you want to be in the child’s life, and the child’s guardian approves, you can be a mentor and even a friend to the child. Many children benefit from having a stable paternal presence and role model in their life, and that can still be you.