In re C.E.
Texas Court of Appeals
391 S.W.3d 200 (2012)
In 1995, Christopher Ehrhardt (plaintiff) discovered pictures of his girlfriend, Stephanie Garcia, with a man of an ethnicity different from Ehrhardt’s. Garcia admitted she had a sexual relationship with the other man, but when she announced she was pregnant the following month, she sought child support from Ehrhardt. When Garcia gave birth, she did not explicitly say that Ehrhardt was the child’s father, but she named the child C.E., put Ehrhardt’s name on the birth certificate, and Ehrhardt signed it, acknowledging C.E. as his biological child without requesting paternity testing. Ehrhardt initially believed C.E. was his because they shared similar features. However, as she grew, C.E. no longer resembled Ehrhardt, and Ehrhardt noticed differences between their “facial features and stuff like that.” The state petitioned to establish Ehrhardt’s parent-child relationship and set up child support in 2001, and Ehrhardt signed a child support review order (CSRO) agreeing to pay support. Ten years later, when C.E. was 16, the state petitioned to increase the amount of support. Ehrhardt sued to terminate the parent-child relationship and end child support under Texas Family Code § 161.005(c), which allows a man who agreed to paternity based on a mistaken belief that he was a child’s biological father to disestablish paternity through genetic testing. The trial court found that Ehrhardt failed to show that he relied on a misrepresentation that C.E. was his child when he agreed to the CSRO and refused to order genetic testing. Ehrhardt appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bland, J.)
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