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Paternity: What It Is and Why Establishing Paternity Is Important

Paternity is a legal term used to talk about the identity of a child’s father. When paternity is established, a child’s genetic father becomes the child’s legal father as well. The father then has all the legal rights and responsibilities that come with fatherhood.

There are a few ways that paternity can be established. If both parents are married, Texas courts presume that the husband is the father of the child. Paternity can also be established by filing a document called an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” or by a court order.

Why Paternity Is Important

Having a legal father can be important to a child’s life. It establishes the link between father and child and also helps to ensure that the child will be financially supported throughout his or her life. Things like veterans’ benefits, social security benefits and inheritance do not pass to the child unless paternity has been established. Paternity must also be established before child support can be ordered.

Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP)

The document called the “Acknowledgement of Paternity” can establish paternity when a child’s parents are not married. Dads are often asked to sign AOPs in the hospital when they are there for the birth of their children. To complete and file an AOP at another time, parents must work with an AOP-certified entity. Your lawyer or the Texas Attorney General’s Office can help you find one.

It’s important to know that just signing an AOP does not give you full rights to child custody and does not establish a parenting plan. If you are the biological father of a child born outside of marriage, you might want to talk with a lawyer about how to protect your legal rights to spend time with your child.

Paternity in Texas | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1162519347
817-799-7125 – Paternity is a legal term used to talk about the identity of a child’s father. When paternity is established, a child’s genetic father becomes the child’s legal father as well.

Denial of Paternity (DOP)

Sometimes, family situations mean that parents need to complete and file a “Denial of Paternity” document. DOPs are legal forms that state that the presumed father—for example, the husband—is not the biological father of the child. For a DOP to be valid, the child’s mother and biological father must also file an AOP. Both the DOP and AOP must be filed with the Vital Statistics Unit.

Talk With an Attorney About Paternity

Texas paternity laws can be complicated, especially when relationships get complex. The best way to get answers is to talk with a lawyer at the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.


Schneider Law Firm Operations And COVID-19

To Whom It May Concern:

The Schneider Law Firm is dedicated to continue helping and offering our services to our  community during these difficult times. If you are a potential client, please contact your nearest Schneider Law Firm location or visit our website for more information. While we will continue to be available for in-office consults, we will also be happy to schedule immediate phone conferences with any of our skilled family or criminal law attorneys in order to follow all current healthcare recommendations. If you are a current client; please review the information below as to the current status of cases in Tarrant County, Texas.

In a response to the current COVID-19 situation, five of the Tarrant County Family Court Judges have cancelled their dockets beginning Monday, March 16 through April 1, 2020. The only matters that will be heard are those considered “essential proceedings” which include: extraordinary relief TROs, protective orders, CPS hearings such as removals, status reviews and permanency review hearings, writ of habeas corpus proceedings and/or attachments, adoptions, and child support bond releases. If your case is considered “essential,” your attorney will be contacting you directly. If you have a hearing or trial in a divorce, modification or SAPCR in these Courts between now and April 1, 2020, it has been cancelled. Your attorney will be working with opposing counsel or the opposing party in these cases to determine whether any agreements or settlements can be made outside of court. Should the need for a hearing arise, all hearings will be rescheduled for some time after April 1, 2020 or as soon as the Court’s dockets reopen.

The 360th District Court has taken a different stance and will be available to hear matters between March 16, 2020 and April 1, 2020. The 360th District Court will approve all agreed Motions for Continuance and any non-agreed motions will be submitted to the Court by written argument. This Court will not require parties to appear in person and will allow videoconferencing or teleconferencing, if preferred. TeamSLF attorneys will be contacting our clients with hearings in the 360th District Court between March 16, 2020 and April 1, 2020, to determine a course of action.

For questions regarding Spring Break 2020, the Judges in Tarrant County have issued a statement asserting that spring break possession shall end according to the previously scheduled spring break as set forth in the school calendar for the applicable school district. This means you will follow the original spring break schedule as according to your underlying order or the dates originally designated for Spring Break 2020 by the school district in which your child resides. Your spring break schedule should not be effected by any Spring Break extensions made by your school district in recent days. All other periods of possession shall continue as previously ordered or as agreed to by the parties.

For criminal matters all Jury Trials in Tarrant County have been canceled until April 17, 2020. All court dockets for clients not in custody have also been canceled. If you have a bail bondsman you report to or are reporting to Pretrial services per order of the court CONTINUE TO DO SO.

To our current clients: The Schneider Law Firm will meet with current clients by phone conference or email, unless otherwise directed by the client. The Schneider Law Firm will continue to keep our clients updated and informed as situations change or progress. We would encourage all clients to be patient and understanding as we try and navigate this unprecedented event. 

We appreciate you working with us. 


P. Michael Schneider & Staff

Child Custody for Holidays and Birthdays

Birthdays and holidays can be challenging enough when parents live together. When they live separately and co-parent, however, child custody can become especially complicated. 

In Texas, divorce agreements can accommodate many different parenting plans. In the absence of another agreement, Texas law offers some standard visitation guidelines.

General Visitation Guidelines in Texas

If you’re wondering if you and your child will spend a birthday or a holiday together, your divorce decree or child custody order is the first place to look. If you have questions about your custody order, calling your lawyer is a good idea. If the legal document does not outline specific dates, Texas’ standard visitation guidelines may apply.

Child Custody for Holidays and Birthdays | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-755-1852 – Child custody can get complicated when it comes to birthdays, holidays and special events. Our attorneys can help.

Those guidelines can be complicated, but generally, when distance isn’t an issue:

  • Mother’s Day: If the mother isn’t in possession of the child on Mother’s Day, she’s entitled to spend Mother’s Day weekend with the child, from 6 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Mother’s Day.
  • Father’s Day: If the father isn’t in possession of the child on Father’s Day, he’s entitled to spend Father’s Day weekend with the child, from 6 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Father’s Day.
  • Birthdays: If a parent isn’t in possession of the child on the child’s birthday, they are entitled to pick the child up for two hours between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. so they have some time to celebrate together.
  • Christmas: The parent the child lives with has possession of the child on even-numbered years. The other parent has possession of the child on odd-numbered years. Possession begins at 6 p.m. the day the child is dismissed from school for Christmas vacation. It ends at noon on December 28th.
  • Thanksgiving: The parent the child lives with has possession of the child on odd-numbered years. The other parent has possession of the child on even-numbered years. That way, a parent who spends Thanksgiving with the child will not spend Christmas with the child and vice versa.

How to Make Holidays and Birthdays Easier

Figuring out co-parenting can make a stressful event even more difficult. But, for all the heightened tensions parents feel, they should not forget that their words and actions can make a holiday stressful for the child, too. It’s important for them to take a step back and figure out the logistics calmly as adults. There are many other things you can do to make holidays easier for children, too, including asking kids what would make them happy that day and keeping the focus on them.

When Child Custody Gets Complicated, Get Legal Help

There are many child custody matters that a blog post can’t answer. When things are confusing and child custody arrangements get tense, it’s best to talk with a lawyer. At the Ft. Worth office of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about child custody during birthdays and holidays. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.


Your Temporary Orders Hearing: What to Expect

Ideally, a divorce will reach a resolution as quickly as possible. But that’s not always the case. Because divorces can take some time and life goes on, Texas courts often issue temporary orders that stay in place through the duration of the divorce. The temporary orders can protect your interests during the divorce process. Those orders are issued after a temporary orders hearing; here’s what to expect from them and the process.

The Temporary Orders Hearing Process

You may request a temporary orders hearing by having your lawyer file a “Petition for Temporary Orders” at the same time they file your other divorce documents with the court. The petition should outline the orders you are seeking, as well as the date and time of the hearing (your lawyer’s office will arrange this).

For most people, the temporary orders hearing is the first time they appear before the judge in the divorce process. It’s important to make a good impression at this hearing. 

Follow your attorney’s directions and allow them to do most of the speaking for you. The judge will likely ask questions of both parties’ lawyers so that he or she can come to a decision on the orders you’re seeking.

You probably won’t hear from the judge exactly what the temporary orders are at the hearing. Usually, the judge hears both parties’ sides. After the hearing, they deliberate on the best solution before issuing the order.

Your Temporary Orders Hearing | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-755-1852 – Here’s what to expect at your temporary orders hearing in Texas, including what orders the court may make.

Issues the Court May Decide Upon During This Process

There are many different issues that can come before a judge during a temporary orders hearing, including:

  • Temporary child custody, including possession and access
  • Child support
  • Possession of an item in dispute, like the family cars
  • Health insurance

Temporary Orders Can Lead to Permanent Ones

While these orders aren’t permanent, it’s important to note that they can have a huge impact on the final outcome of the divorce. In many cases, temporary orders become the arrangement that the family grows accustomed to. During the finalization of the divorce, it makes the most sense for the court to issue a final order that is similar to the temporary one. That’s why your attorney will take the temporary orders hearing seriously. 

Contact Us for Help With Your Divorce

If you’d like more information about temporary orders during a Texas divorce, you might also be interested in our Q&As about temporary orders. And if you’re considering a divorce, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information about things like temporary orders. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852 .