Written by attorney Thomas James Daley

Texas Allows Fathers to Terminate Child Support Obligations but Maintain Visitation Rights

Both houses of the Texas Legislature have passed SB 785 and it has been sent to the Governor for signature. It passed nearly unanimously through both houses, so it seems likely that the Governor will sign it into law. Because it received more than 2/3 of the votes in both houses, it will become law immediately when the Governor signs it. The bill allows a father to terminate his parental rights if he was tricked into acknowledging himself as the father of a child when genetic testing concludes that he is not the biological father. In a wierd twist, the bill also allows the "father" to maintain possession and access rights (aka "custody rights") even though he has no legal relationship with the child. Apparently the legislature has concluded that there is no way in the world a child could need the support of a person the child has called "daddy" for 10 or 12 years but that it could at the same time be extremely harmful to the child for "daddy" to no longer be in his life. This bill is moronic and humiliating. First, it requires "daddy" to attack the mother as a liar. If "daddy" **could** have been the biological father, he is probably not innocent of promiscuous behavior. Yet, only the mom is required to be attacked under the soon-to-be new law. Second, the only innocent party in these kinds of cases are the kids. Yet they are the only ones targeted for harm. The most embarassing aspect of this is that it was widely supported by Republicans, Democrats, men and women. They all lost their minds at once.

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