A Texas custody case can become complicated when a person learns he is the biological father of a child years after the child’s birth. Although a potential father of a child with a presumed father generally must file for adjudication of paternity prior to the child’s fourth birthday, in some cases, a delay may be excused. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 160.607. In a suit adjudicating parentage, the court may order retroactive child support based on the child support guidelines if the parent has not been previously ordered to pay child support and was not party to a suit where support was ordered. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 154.009.
In a recent case, a biological father challenged an order requiring him to pay retroactive child support and granting custody to the mother’s ex-husband. The mother was not sure who the father was, but married during her pregnancy. The mother and her husband also had a child together. The husband was the presumptive father and was adjudicated the father of both children when he and the mother divorced. The husband was named managing conservator with the right to establish the primary residence for both children.
The mother had told the biological father about the pregnancy when she realized she may be pregnant, and he acknowledged he was aware he could be the father from that time. He went to the hospital the day the child was born. He said the mother told him he was not the father and he did not pursue paternity at that time. The mother told him he may be the father when the child was four years old and a paternity test confirmed that he was the probable father.