(WSVN) - He couldn’t have been happier. His girlfriend had a son and told him he was the father. Then they broke up, and he found out he was not the biological father, but the state said he still had to pay child support, and that’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
When Kenneth’s girlfriend got pregnant, he could not have been any happier.
Kenneth Somers, not biological father: “Yeah, I was the happiest man in the world. That was a wonderful sight. He had the blue eyes, and I was happy.”
Kenneth adored the little fellow, trusted his girlfriend and thought nothing of the next step.
Kenneth Somers: “She convinced me that the child was mine. I was there to deliver the baby, so I signed the birth certificate.”
Kenneth and his girlfriend got along great, until they didn’t and broke up, only meeting when Kenneth came to see the child.
Kenneth Somers: “And then whatever he needed, and then when he came over, I took care of whatever he needed, and that’s how it went.”
About two years after their breakup, after another argument, his ex blurted out some news.
Kenneth Somers: “That’s when she told me that he was not my son. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t say nothing at that time.”
Kenneth says a DNA test confirmed he was not the biological father, but financially and emotionally, he wanted to take care of the child he still considered his son.
Kenneth Somers: “And a child, especially a boy, needs a father figure, and I made a deal with God that I would stand by his side no matter what.”
But then another curveball, the baby’s biological father died.
Since the mother was getting government assistance, the state decided to come after Kenneth for mandatory child support to pay that money.
Kenneth Somers: “You signed the birth certificate. He is now yours, you have to pay.”
Kenneth Somers: “I’ll help her when I can, but I don’t want somebody telling me that I have to pay every week, or you’re going to go to jail, and that’s what’s gonna happen. If I can’t pay, I go to jail for a kid that’s not mine.”
Well Howard, a DNA test shows Kenneth is not the father, but he signed the birth certificate. Does he have to pay mandatory child support?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “No, but he has to go court to get a judge to sign a judicial order that says Kenneth is no longer the legal father of the child. Once that is done, he has to show that to the Department of Revenue, and then they will leave him alone.”
Sounds simple, but it’s not.
Dara Schottenfeld, helping Kenneth in court: “First step would be to file a petition to disestablish paternity.”
Dara Schottenfeld offered to help Kenneth get his name off the birth certificate, so he does not have to pay mandatory child support.
Dara Schottenfeld: “I wanted to do what was right, and what he is facing right now is not right, and I wanted to help him. It’s something that I take great pride in. I find it a real privilege to be able to help people.”
Kenneth is grateful for Dara. As for his ex, not so much.
Kenneth Somers: “I regret her. Yes, I do. I regret the day I met her, but it is what it is.”
But on the other hand, if he didn’t meet that girlfriend, he would not have the child he loves.
Kenneth Somers: “A beautiful boy. How can I regret that? No, I don’t.”
And while the state has filed papers to make Kenneth pay mandatory child support, they have not officially ordered him to do it yet.
Of course, if the courts remove his name from the birth certificate, they won’t be able to, and Kenneth will just continue to voluntarily help the child he adores.
Got a problem you would love to break up with? Need some support? Take a pregnant pause and give us a ring. What we do is not child’s play. Nah, kids have way more energy.
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