A Texas law that allows men who believe they are the victims of paternity fraud to try to legally terminate their future child support obligations has given dozens of men the opportunity to have their day in court, according to the Beaumont Enterprise.
Before the legislation was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on May 12, men could only ask for a DNA test before they were legally named the father of the child. If they gave up that right before appearing before a judge and being legally declared the father, it was almost impossible for men to challenge their child support obligations, even if a later paternity test proved he was not the father.
With the passage of SB 785, men who have been legally named as a child’s father can challenge paternity in court. A number of practicing attorneys in Beaumont, told the newspaper they have been contacted by about 270 people since the bill was passed regarding paternity fraud cases.
The law allows men who want to challenge paternity to file a petition and then attend a court hearing to determine whether there is proof to support his claim and take a court-ordered DNA test. If the test determines he is not the child’s biological father he will not have to pay future child support.
Other states have also taken steps to tackle paternity fraud. The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a man who claims he was tricked into supporting a child that was not biologically his own. The ruling could potentially change the way paternity fraud is legally addressed in the state.