Texas family law presumes a husband is the father of his wife’s children born during the marriage. A presumed father may challenge paternity, but he generally must do so by the child’s fourth birthday. Adjudication of the paternity of a child with a presumed father may occur later, however, if a court finds the presumed father did not live with or have sexual intercourse with the mother when the child was conceived or if misrepresentations led the presumed father to a mistaken belief he was the biological father. Tex. Fam. Code § 160.607.
A husband recently challenged a trial court order including a child as a child of the marriage after he presented evidence of a DNA test showing he was not the father. The daughter was born in 2004 and the son in 2012. In 2013, the husband obtained a paternity test confirming he was not the daughter’s biological father. He filed for divorce in 2017. In his petition, he listed both children as “children of the marriage” and sought the right to designate their primary residence. He sought child support and medical support from the wife for both children. The wife also sought child support, medical support, and the right to designate primary residence.
Each spouse alleged the other had been unfaithful. The husband presented the DNA test results to support his allegation. When his attorney asked if he was asking the court to say that the daughter was not his child, he indicated he was not and agreed he accepted parental responsibility for her. He indicated the purpose of admitting the paternity test was not to deny paternity, but to show that his wife had been unfaithful. Both parents testified the girl had not been told she was not the husband’s biological child.