(Memphis) Talk show TV makes millions off the catch phrase, you are not the Daddy!
However, the reality in Memphis is just because you’re not the father, doesnt mean you won’t have to pay.
Edward Bowdery told us, “I was down there in handcuffs and chains.”
Over the years Bowdery had his drivers license stripped and once even found himself in handcuffs over child support payments for a child that’s not his, “I would hate to see somebody else go through the same thing. I’ve been going through this, headaches.”
A mound of paperwork shows a juvenile court judge ordered him to pay child support even before the birth.
“I didn’t do a voluntary acknowledgement. I didn’t sign the birth certificate. All I know is we legitimated the child in your name,” said Bowdery.
Bowdery asked several judges during several hearings for a DNA test, but no judge ordered one.
“I said how did I ever get put on child support and I never said this was my child and again this is not what we’re here for,” said Bowdery.
In 2009 he took the child himself to get a DNA test and found the son he supported for years was not biologically his.
He took the documentation to court.
The judge wouldn’t accept it, but ordered a DNA test done that showed the same results.
The probability of paternity was zero percent.
“They never did what they were originally supposed to do which was give me the opportunity to take a DNA test. I was just a voice not being heard so I guess I needed a choir,” said Bowdery.
Juvenile Court magistrate Nancy Kessler agreed in October to dis-establish paternity, but only after she admonished him for taking it this far.
“The judge stated that, ‘well I find it very distasteful that you’re bastardizing the child,” said Bowdery.
The judge stopped the child support going forward, but Bowdery is still paying $460 a month in back pay to the mother.
He doesn’t think he should have to pay that.
In fact, he believes someone owes him money. He wants the $30,000 he already paid, back.
Administrators at juvenile court denied our request for an interview on this case.
They say it’s not appropriate to comment about rulings.
We asked a family lawyer what are the chances of Bowdery getting his money back.
Attorney Miles Mason said, “It is very unusual and very infrequent.”
Mason says in a similar case, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled a man in middle Tennessee could sue his ex-wife for fraud. He won a $100,000 judgement.
“There was a very large judgement awarded against the mother but I doubt they would be able to collect in most cases,” said Mason.
State representative G.A. Hardaway says he’s heard from a number of fathers in his district like Bowdery.
He introduced a bill letting them file civil lawsuits against the biological fathers, but it never made it out of committee.
“To a degree, justice needs to be served. It needs to be a totally different new law or something,” said Bowdery.
The reason Bowdery is still paying back support is because by law, we were told a judge can’t undue another judges earlier ruling, when it comes to child support in juvenile court.