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  S.B. No. 785
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the termination of the parent-child relationship and
  the duty to pay child support in circumstances involving mistaken
  paternity.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subsection (a), Section 154.006, Family Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly
  provided in the order or as provided by Subsection (b), the child
  support order terminates on:
               (1)  the marriage of the child;
               (2)  the removal of the child's disabilities for
  general purposes;
               (3)  the death of the child;
               (4)  a finding by a court that the child:
                     (A)  is 18 years of age or older; and
                     (B)  has failed to comply with the enrollment or
  attendance requirements described by Section 154.002(a); [or]
               (5)  the issuance under Section 161.005(h) of an order
  terminating the parent-child relationship between the obligor and
  the child based on the results of genetic testing that exclude the
  obligor as the child's genetic father; or
               (6)  if the child enlists in the armed forces of the
  United States, the date on which the child begins active service as
  defined by 10 U.S.C. Section 101.
         SECTION 2.  Section 161.005, Family Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (c), (d), (e),
  (e-1), and (f) through (o) to read as follows:
         (a)  A parent may file a suit for termination of the
  petitioner's parent-child relationship. Except as provided by
  Subsection (h), the [The] court may order termination if
  termination is in the best interest of the child.
         (c)  Subject to Subsection (d), a man may file a suit for
  termination of the parent-child relationship between the man and a
  child if, without obtaining genetic testing, the man signed an
  acknowledgment of paternity of the child in accordance with
  Subchapter D, Chapter 160, or was adjudicated to be the father of
  the child in a previous proceeding under this title in which genetic
  testing did not occur. The petition must be verified and must
  allege facts showing that the petitioner:
               (1)  is not the child's genetic father; and
               (2)  signed the acknowledgment of paternity or failed
  to contest parentage in the previous proceeding because of the
  mistaken belief, at the time the acknowledgment was signed or on the
  date the court order in the previous proceeding was rendered, that
  he was the child's genetic father based on misrepresentations that
  led him to that conclusion.
         (d)  A man may not file a petition under Subsection (c) if:
               (1)  the man is the child's adoptive father;
               (2)  the child was conceived by assisted reproduction
  and the man consented to assisted reproduction by his wife under
  Subchapter H, Chapter 160; or
               (3)  the man is the intended father of the child under a
  gestational agreement validated by a court under Subchapter I,
  Chapter 160.
         (e)  A petition under Subsection (c) must be filed not later
  than the first anniversary of the date on which the petitioner
  becomes aware of the facts alleged in the petition indicating that
  the petitioner is not the child's genetic father.
         (e-1)  Subsection (e) applies beginning September 1, 2012.
  Before that date, a petition may be filed under Subsection (c)
  regardless of the date on which the petitioner became aware of the
  facts alleged in the petition indicating that the petitioner is not
  the child's genetic father. This subsection expires September 1,
  2013.
         (f)  In a proceeding initiated under Subsection (c), the
  court shall hold a pretrial hearing to determine whether the
  petitioner has established a meritorious prima facie case for
  termination of the parent-child relationship. If a meritorious
  prima facie claim is established, the court shall order the
  petitioner and the child to submit to genetic testing under
  Subchapter F, Chapter 160.
         (g)  If the results of genetic testing ordered under
  Subsection (f) identify the petitioner as the child's genetic
  father under the standards prescribed by Section 160.505 and the
  results of any further testing requested by the petitioner and
  ordered by the court under Subchapter F, Chapter 160, do not exclude
  the petitioner as the child's genetic father, the court shall deny
  the petitioner's request for termination of the parent-child
  relationship.
         (h)  If the results of genetic testing ordered under
  Subsection (f) exclude the petitioner as the child's genetic
  father, the court shall render an order terminating the
  parent-child relationship.
         (i)  An order under Subsection (h) terminating the
  parent-child relationship ends the petitioner's obligation for
  future support of the child as of the date the order is rendered.
  The order does not affect the petitioner's obligations for support
  of the child incurred before that date or the petitioner's
  obligation to pay interest that accrues after that date on the basis
  of child support arrearages existing on that date. Those
  obligations are enforceable until satisfied by any means available
  for the enforcement of child support other than contempt.
         (j)  An order under Subsection (h) terminating the
  parent-child relationship does not preclude:
               (1)  the initiation of a proceeding under Chapter 160
  to adjudicate whether another man is the child's parent; or
               (2)  if the other man subject to a proceeding under
  Subdivision (1) is adjudicated as the child's parent, the rendition
  of an order requiring that man to pay child support for the child
  under Chapter 154, subject to Subsection (k).
         (k)  Notwithstanding Section 154.131, an order described by
  Subsection (j)(2) may not require the other man to pay retroactive
  child support for any period preceding the date on which the order
  under Subsection (h) terminated the parent-child relationship
  between the child and the man seeking termination under this
  section.
         (l)  At any time before the court renders an order
  terminating the parent-child relationship under Subsection (h),
  the petitioner may request that the court also order periods of
  possession of or access to the child by the petitioner following
  termination of the parent-child relationship. If requested, the
  court may order periods of possession of or access to the child only
  if the court determines that denial of periods of possession of or
  access to the child would significantly impair the child's physical
  health or emotional well-being.
         (m)  The court may include provisions in an order under
  Subsection (l) that require:
               (1)  the child or any party to the proceeding to
  participate in counseling with a mental health professional who:
                     (A)  has a background in family therapy; and
                     (B)  holds a professional license that requires
  the person to possess at least a master's degree; and
               (2)  any party to pay the costs of the counseling
  described by Subdivision (1).
         (n)  Notwithstanding Subsection (m)(1), if a person who
  possesses the qualifications described by that subdivision is not
  available in the county in which the court is located, the court may
  require that the counseling be conducted by another person the
  court considers qualified for that purpose.
         (o)  During any period of possession of or access to the
  child ordered under Subsection (l) the petitioner has the rights
  and duties specified by Section 153.074, subject to any limitation
  specified by the court in its order.
         SECTION 3.  The changes in law made by this Act to Section
  154.006, Family Code, apply to an order for child support
  regardless of whether the order was rendered before, on, or after
  the effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 4.  The changes in law made by this Act to Section
  161.005, Family Code, apply to a parent-child relationship
  regardless of whether the relationship was established before, on,
  or after the effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2011.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 785 passed the Senate on
  March 24, 2011, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate adopted S.C.R. No. 48, recalling S.B. No. 785 from the
  Governor for a clerical correction on April 26, 2011, by the
  following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 785 passed the House on
  April 14, 2011, by the following vote:  Yeas 142, Nays 0, one
  present not voting; and that the House adopted S.C.R. No. 48,
  recalling S.B. No. 785 from the Governor on April 26, 2011, by the
  following vote:  Yeas 147, Nays 0, two present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor