St. Mary's Law Journal


Anne Greenwood


Child support programs across the nation are struggling to achieve even meager recovery of the financial support children need from their parents. Obtaining child support payments from men who are not fathers and who unknowingly signed their rights away is not a sound long-term policy. States must ensure that children are supported and their custodial mothers receive assistance from non-custodial fathers. Logically, the law should only compel a man to support a child he fathered. If a man chooses to assume not only the financial obligation but also the relationship which belongs to the biological father; then such agreement must be based on a full appraisal of the fact that he is not the child’s father. The adoptive father must understand what this agreement will mean for him legally and financially, especially if he and the child’s mother do not stay together. Texas depends upon federal incentives and measures must be taken to meet the ninety percent paternity establishment goal set by the federal mandate. The voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (AOP) process must remain available at or near the time of birth. But the sheer number of children born across the state demands large numbers of form administrators. The AOP forms and processes need administrators because they fail to provide objective advice for male signatories. The most effective solution, however, lies in the initial premise that an AOP does not harm the biological father. Genetic testing ensures that the man signing the AOP is, in fact, the biological father of the child involved. Testing before signing also means full disclosure for all parties involved. Most importantly, mandatory genetic testing closes the door on a mother’s ability to commit paternity fraud in the AOP process.


St. Mary's University School of Law