When a married woman gives birth during a marriage, the state of Texas presumes that her husband is the biological father, and he may also assume that presumption as well. However, if evidence of adultery were to surface, the question of paternity may surface as well, especially if the affair took place around the time the wife got pregnant.
Men used to have to rely on the mother to tell them truthfully if they are in fact the biological father of a child. To some extent, men may still do so. The primary difference now is that a man can ask for a DNA paternity test in order to confirm his status as the father.
The question of paternity fraud
Any number of circumstances could prompt you to question whether you are the biological father of one of your children. Perhaps you had an argument and your wife let it slip that she had an affair around the time she got pregnant. Maybe you purchased a DNA testing kit for genealogy purposes and the results shocked you. How you discovered that you aren’t the biological father of a child you’ve loved since before his or her birth may not matter as much as what happens next.
If you filed for divorce, you still have the issue of legal parentage to sort out. You may want to let the court know that you believe your soon-to-be ex-wife may have committed paternity fraud. While she may not face any criminal penalties for this betrayal, the court may consider it when it comes to support issues. The court may order a DNA test of its own to confirm if you are or are not the biological father of the child.
What happens next?
These situations are obviously complicated. You may be the only father the child knows, and that isn’t the child’s fault. Even if the court rules that you are not the father, you may still as for and receive rights of possession of the child as a non-parent conservator.
The court may not require you to pay child support at all, especially if paternity of the actual biological father is also legally established. Even though you wish to divorce the child’s mother, you may not want to give up your role as the child’s emotional and psychological father. After all, you may have loved, supported and sheltered him or her for years before finding out the truth.
This may not be an easy choice for you to make. Before doing so, you may want to consult with an experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas, to better understand your rights, the rights you may give up and all of your several legal options available to the various parties involved.