AUSTIN, Texas (AVfM) Legislators have changed a law that prevented victims of paternity fraud from challenging child support obligations. The landmark legislation took six years and three congressional sessions to complete.
According to the old Texas law, a man is legally a father if any child is born during his marriage, regardless of whether he is or isn’t the biological father. This resulted in many men paying child support after a divorce for children that were a product of their wife’s infidelity.
No genetic test was required to establish paternity. If fact, paternity tests proving no biological connection between the legal father and the child were considered irrelevant to the issue of child support.
Under the old Texas law, he was forced to support that child financially, and had no course of action to terminate the parent-child relationship even though he was a proven victim of paternity fraud.
The new law changes all this. It allows men to use the results of a genetic test to prove they are not fathers, and to petition Texas courts to terminate the parent-child relationship and child support. Courts will now be mandated to terminate child support orders and end legal sanctions against the victims of paternity fraud.
The law includes a grace period until September of 2012 for men who were victims of paternity fraud to make their cases before the court. Men who discover they are victims of paternity fraud after September 1, 2012 will have one year from the time of discovery to petition the courts.
The new law effectively terminates child support payments and requires the state to pay back any support already paid at the time of the petition. It is possible, then, that those women who have been fraudulently extorting monies from those targeted by their scams, will become liable to the state for restitution of the money they have illicitly collected.