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Anchors Aweigh: Paternity Leave for New Fathers

 Posted on November 19, 2015 in Paternity

Texas paternity lawyer, Texas child custody attorney, Texas family law attorney,It appears that the United States Navy may be the latest organization to jump on the bandwagon of extended paternity leave for new fathers.

During a recent visit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Admiral John Richardson presided over an impromptu meeting that included himself, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens, and ten sailors who had become new fathers within the past year. Currently, the Navy provides ten days of paid paternity leave, and Admiral Richardson asked the sailors what they believed a reasonable leave policy would be. After a brief conference, they proposed 30 days of paid leave. Admiral Richardson told the group that "it's great to get a sense for what your input will be," and he promised to pass the recommendation along to his superiors in Washington.

The meeting comes shortly after the Navy tripled paid maternity leave to 18 weeks. In the last several months, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, and other large companies have all expanded their paternity leave plans, or at least are considering such action.


There is a large body of evidence to support the proposition that fathers play a critical role in the lives of their children, regardless of their age. However, only legal fathers have the right to attend school activities, be listed as an emergency contact person, have access to a child's medical and educational records, visit their children, and enjoy the other rights normally associated with a complex custody case. Moreover, in most cases, only legal fathers have standing to request custody.

In Texas, there are only two ways that a father who is not married to the mother can claim these legal rights:

  • Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP): The mother and father may sign this document at any time before or after the child's birth.
  • Court Order: A parent often files a petition to establish paternity if the other parent is uncooperative, for whatever reason. Courts typically order a non-invasive DNA test, which offers nearly indisputable proof of paternity one way or the other.

Paternity also has implications for grandparents, because, like the fathers, they normally have no legal right of access to their grandchildren absent an AOP or court order.

To help provide a more stable environment for your children or grandchildren, contact an experienced Williamson County family law attorney today. Mr. Powers is a board certified family law expert.






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