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Can legal fathers who question paternity cease child support?

If you are a legal father in Texas and are currently paying child support, but you now question whether you did, in fact, biologically father the child you are supporting, you may wonder whether you can stop paying support. While, as a legal father, you cannot immediately cease paying court-ordered child support payments, you may, depending on certain circumstances, be able to petition to the court to terminate the relationship between you and the child and therefore end your duty to pay support.

Per the Texas Attorney General, the first step in the process of ending your duty to pay child support involves filing a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship. The next step involves you attending a pretrial hearing where the court will determine whether your case has appropriate grounds to proceed. If so, you and the child you question fathering must both submit to genetic testing. If the test proves that you are not, in fact, the biological father of the child in question, the court will typically end your parent-child relationship and, as a result, your obligation to pay child support.

There are, however, certain timeframes in which you must act if you question the paternity of a child you are financially supporting. You have exactly one year from the day you initially found out you might not be the child’s father to file your petition in a Texas court.

While this information about what you can do as a legal father who questions the paternity of a child you support is informational in nature, it not a substitute for legal guidance.

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