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Athletes set the trend for paternity leave

Texas residents may be interested in the current attitude many athletes have when it comes to fatherhood and the births of their children. Many notable athletes, including golfer Hunter Mahan, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Miami Heat player Chris Bosh, have recently either missed time to attend the birth of their child or expressed their opinion to do so.

Mothers have long been offered maternity leave to be with newborns, but paternity leave is a rather new phenomenon. Many paternity experts hope these athletes are leading the charge for new paternity rights. The MLB has formally recognized the rights of its players by allowing a player to take 72 hours of paid paternity leave to attend the birth of a child. Several players have taken advantage of the new rule, including Brandon Moss of the Oakland Athletics, Nick Swisher of the Cleveland Indians and Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers.

Some critics say that athletes shouldn't have this right given that they're often paid millions of dollars and, in many instances, get half the year off when the sport is out of session. However, some paternity rights supporters have praised the actions of these athletes, their teams and their leagues. Fatherhood experts have said that athletes have an opportunity to influence attitudes toward parental rights and advance the idea of paternity leave.

Understandably, courts and employers have long recognized the rights of mothers when it comes to caring for a child. However, some feel that the rights of the father sometimes don't get enough attention. In some cases, fathers who feel their paternal rights are being threatened may need to look for legal assistance. An experienced family law attorney could help a father assert his rights as a parent to better care and provide for his children.

Source: Quartz, "Pro athletes are leading the charge for paternity leave in the US", Matt Schneider, September 09, 2013

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Bruce Turner

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