DNA proved he’s the dad, but he won’t pay my rent

Dear Counsellor,

I’ve been in a relationship for over seven years. It was on and off in those seven years, and I happened to get intimate with someone else twice. I got pregnant and had no idea the person I was intimate with could be the father because I didn’t know I was pregnant until early February, and we were intimate in November. I thought the child belonged to the man I’ve been with for seven years.

A few years passed and I got a text from the other man stating that my child resembled him and he needed a DNA test. I was reluctant at first, but then I allowed the test, and it proved that the child was his. However, my partner was taking care of us 100 per cent — he would pay the rent, light, water bills, and all child expenses. Now that the results are back, the biological father doesn’t want my partner, who has been the legal father for over four years, to visit the child or communicate with the child. I think this is selfish and ungrateful as he is still willing to maintain the child despite the results.

The biological father is now saying that he will not help to pay my bills, and is only responsible for half of the child’s expenses. My partner (the legal father) is upset that the biological father doesn’t want to take 100 per cent responsibility for the child.

I am confused and I don’t know what to do because the biological father has ruined everything and now doesn’t want to help with all the child’s living expenses.

He knew from day one that I wasn’t paying rent and it’s the legal father who was paying it. I’ve lost my job because of the situation because I have no one to get the child dressed for school (the legal father had ensured that a babysitter was paid and he would take the child to and from school). The bio dad only wants to do half of everything and I can’t afford this arrangement.

I think it’s unfair that he insisted on getting a DNA test, and now won’t take on the legal father’s responsibility in full. He doesn’t have to pay my rent, but he can at least contribute to light and water and Internet. I need your advice.

Yours is a difficult situation, yet it’s not impossible to sort through. Hard as it is, it is better that the truth came out. Yes, there will be work for you to do to stabilise things emotionally and financially.

My advice:

Get legal advice. This will be important. According to lawyer Mackeda Bramwell of Koradek Clarke, you’ll certainly need proper legal advice regarding possibly getting support for the child in an enforceable order. If the child’s biological dad is trying to block your partner from being in the child’s life, your lawyer will advise you on the options available to you too. The child’s birth records will also need to be adjusted, if, as I assume, the child was registered in your partner’s name. This is a legal process for the courts. So find a family lawyer to help. This is important as your child has a right to know, be named for, and be supported by the other biological parent. But be warned that he is obligated to support his child, inasmuch as he is able, but he’s not under any obligation to support you.

Become resourceful. Since you’ve lost your job, think about how you can generate income. Be creative. Your financial independence is also very important.

Console your child. You’ll have to explain things to your child as soon as possible. It has implications for your child’s sense of security, identity, and future. Assure your child of your love, and don’t underestimate the importance of an explanation and an apology.

Console your partner. Apologise for the conundrum. He would be hurting after finding out the child isn’t his after all. And if he didn’t know about this fellow before, he’d be struggling with that too.

Remember, life can at times feel unfair, but God is good. I pray for your child’s peace and happiness, for your ingenuity, and for reasonableness on the path of all.

Get on The Counsellor’s Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com.

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