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Paternity confirmation ends military compensation row

The fiancée of a soldier killed in action has succeeded in proving that he was the father of her daughter, Lexie-Mai.

Emma Hickman, 19, had fought to have Private Daniel Wade’s name put on the child’s birth certificate after the Ministry of Defence claimed there was no proof that he was the father. The Ministry refused the usual compensation given to relatives of soldiers killed in action. However, it later released details of his DNA and she has now proved his paternity.

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to resolve this “dreadful situation” last month, which he said, at the time, “cannot be allowed to continue”. The story was widely reported in the press.

Private Wade of 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan in March. He was 20. He and five other soldiers died when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

Pte Wade’s daughter is now officially entitled to military compensation, but Miss Hickman has said the proof of paternity is all that matters:

“It has never ever been about the money; it is about Lexie-Mai’s right to know who her father is.”

She added:

“[Daniel] helped me choose her name and was so proud he was going to be a father.”

Miss Hickman’s solicitor said:

“It is appalling that Emma’s trauma at losing her fiancé just before the birth of her daughter should be compounded by this legal wrangle to establish her fiancé’s paternity.”

Miss Hickman’s MP David Mowat, who represents Warrington South, has supported her legal battle. In a recent debate in Parliament he called for the MOD to store the DNA of troops sent to war zones to prevent a repeat of this case. This is already routinely done in France and the US.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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