By now you know about the recent change in Texas law allowing you to request a DNA test to terminate your child support. If so, you’re probably asking, what do I do now.

Let me start by saying that if money is not an issue, then go see a lawyer now. If a couple of thousand dollars is walking around money, don’t wait. Go hire a lawyer. That said, while I support full employment for lawyers, if money is an issue I’m not going to tell you that you have to run out and hire one right off the bat. For the more frugal of you, my suggestion is that you collect a DNA sample from the child, and get it to a DNA testing lab with a sample of your own DNA.

Lots of you probably watch CSI. I’m here to tell you that they really can get the child’s DNA off his baseball cap or his sox, or off the rim of the water bottle he drank just before he went back to mom’s house. Just put it in a plastic bag and don’t contaminate it with your own DNA. This test will cost you about $300.00. It won’t be admissible in court, but it will let you know if the money for a lawyer and court ordered test will be money well spent or money thrown away.

Even cheaper still is a test kit you can buy at your local chain pharmacy. In my area CVS, Walgreens and most of the grocery store pharmacies all carry a DNA Paternity Test kit from a company called Identigene. They charge $29.00 for the kit and then you send in another $129.00 lab fee for the actual test. This test won’t be admissible in court either, but it is even cheaper than the first one. The down side of the Identigene test is that you collect the sample by swabbing the child’s cheek inside their mouth, and more often than not when the child goes home and tells mom about the mouth swab, she may become very irritated. (Intentional understatement.)

With either test, if the results come back that the child is not yours, then HIRE A LAWYER PRONTO!

I don’t generally suggest you go see a lawyer first except if you don’t have access to the child to perform the cheaper test. Further, I don’t want you to incur the cost of the more expensive tests and the lawyer fees that go with it until we have some evidence it is going to be money well spent. In a quarter to a third of the cases, the child turns out to really be yours.

If you like the CSI approach. There is a link below to a testing provider I know does that test. They will give you a discount and provide the testing for $300.00, but you may have to tell them you saw that rate here.

So to recap: my advise is to head to the pharmacy, send in the test, and when you have the test results, then call a lawyer.

One last thing. In most cases, evidentiary issues will prohibit the first test results from being used in court. Know that and accept that ahead of time. Don’t expect otherwise.

So don’t procrastinate. The window of opportunity is closing rapidly. For most men, September 1, 2012 is going to be the deadline for filing. After that, for most people it is going to be too late.

Forensic DNA and Drug Testing Services: http://www.forensicdrugtesting.net

DNA Test Kit: http://www.dnatesting.com/

CBS 11 Interview