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The role of paternity in child custody disputes

There are many cases where a custody battle is waged between Texas parties where only one person has a biological link to a child. The flip side of those child custody arguments is when a man has been subjected to paternity fraud and led to believe that he is the father of a child that is not his. Those cases are challenging, both for the individuals involved and the courts who hear such matters. 

The issue often arises when a couple breaks up and the mother files for financial assistance from the state. This often triggers a paternity test, as the state has an interest in compelling fathers to help support their children. When those tests reveal that the named father shares no biological link to the child, the courts are faced with a difficult decision. 

In many areas of the nation, a man is the presumed father of any child his wife bears during their marriage. This is true even if the child is the product of adultery. But is it fair to hold someone responsible for raising and supporting a child that is not his own?

One group is standing up for men who've been subjected to paternity fraud. They are seeking legislation that would assist those men in child custody and support cases -- an effort that could one day extend to Texas. Until then, it's important for men to know that statistics suggest that as many as 30% of fathers are not actually the parent of a child they believe to be theirs. 

Source:, "Women Against Paternity Fraud advocating for men and children", Grecia Aguilar, Dec. 5, 2017

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