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Can you protest paternity?

In Texas, paternity is automatic if you are married to the child's mother when he or she is born or within a certain time before birth. Because of this, you may find yourself in a situation where you are legally presumed to be the father of a child who is not actually yours. The same thing could happen if a mother claims you are the father of her child. If you are considered the legal father, it makes you responsible for that child. 

Fortunately, there is something you can do to protest paternity. According to the Dallas News, you have the right to challenge a paternity claim within one year of being aware of the claim and believing it to be untrue. In the past, it was difficult to challenge paternity because judges wanted to keep families together and avoid a child not having a named father. However, law changes now give you some rights.

Upon getting legal proof that you are not the father and presenting it in court, the court can rule you are not the legal father. Once this happens, child support orders are typically revoked. However, the law does not erase any back support or give you the right to get back any support paid. If you owe support still, you will have to pay it. You will not face penalties for not paying, such as being put in jail, but the child's mother can still pursue you for payment. This information is educational and not intended as legal advice. 

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