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Husband receives damages after discovering children were not his

When is a Dad not a Dad? No, that is not a riddle or the beginning of a feeble joke. It is in fact a real question and one that the family courts sometimes have to consider. What defines a father – is it nature or is it nurture ? And what happens if a man one day discovers the children he helped to raise are not biologically his?

Richard Rodwell from Peterborough, made that unwelcome discovery a few years ago.

Now 46, factory manager Richard was married to Helen for 14 years, during which time they had two children, Adam and Laura. When the couple went their separate ways in 2004, Helen was awarded custody and Richard paid £300 per month in maintenance for an additional four years.

Then, reports the Mail on Sunday, things took a sudden turn fort the worse. Mr Rodwell began hearing rumours that Laura, then aged 20, was not his  biological daughter. He phoned Helen but she insisted he was Laura’s father. Eventually Mr Rodwell insisted on a DNA test. It was negative.

“When I saw the letter stating that I wasn’t Laura’s father I just broke down,” he remembers. “When I phoned Helen we had an argument and she just said, “What did you expect.” She didn’t even say sorry.”

But it didn’t end there. Another DNA test revealed that Adam was not his biological son either.

Mr Rodwell sued his former wife for deceit and was awarded £12,500 per child. He also won a court order forcing his ex-wife to move out of their marital home.

His solicitor told the paper: “The court treated it as akin to bereavement, awarding a similar sum to the one you would receive if your child died in an accident, which is £11,800. I think in this case, the county court judge went further than that because of the level of deceit and the fact that Mr Rodwell’s new wife is too old to give him children, so he has lost his chance of fatherhood.”

Mr Rodwell does, apparently, see what has happened as a bereavement. He is quoted saying: “I have lost the children I believed were mine. I treated them both as if they were my own. I was there at their births, went to their Nativity plays and helped them with school homework. I can’t stop thinking about the children as they were my life. I always wanted children and grandchildren and now it’s too late in life for me. The children were the most important people in my life, and now they have gone.”

Heartfelt words – but I would say that the children were his own. Not biologically, but he was their father in that every day sense that really counts.

Mr Rodwell claims that his former wife has turned the two children against him since the DNA tests and “told them to keep away from me”, and I cannot help but feel that what he is really mourning here is the loss of his relationship with the children, not the loss of a theoretical biological link.

He even admits that “I would have been happy to have a close relationship with them as a stepfather”.

So called ‘paternity fraud’ is an emotive topic and one I have written about before. Despite hysterical claims, there is still little hard evidence of an epidemic. Clearly it does happen sometimes, and Mr Roswell seems to have been unlucky enough to be a victim. But is he entirely blameless?

We only inevitably incomplete press reports to go on. Yes, it does appear that his former wife was unfaithful and misled him for many years about he paternity of the two children. That is hardly commendable, in fact it is appalling, but Mr Rodwell still chose to push ahead with paternity tests in
the face of “rumours”, despite the relationship he had formed with the children over those many years. What is the point of opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box in such a situation? We do not know what the children themselves thought of this decision.

I do not subscribe to the rather Darwinian views expressed by some readers on the Telegraph that Mr Rodwell was “selected from the gene pool”. It is real relationships in the here-and-now that matter to children. Biology comes a distant second.

There will inevitably be those who will also roundly condemn the mother along with the Judge who found her deceit proven. And her part in this family tragedy should not be overlooked. Sperm donation is legal provided the consent of the husband is first obtained. For whatever reason she however chose to have her affairs behind his back. She has been well and truly named and shamed and he has had his day in court.

But was it all worth it in the end?

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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  1. JamesB says:

    I think it is very difficult to put yourself in the place of Mr Rodwell. Can you really say you would not do the same in the same situation? I doubt it. You shouldn’t blame him. The woman is the one to blame here. You blaming the man is illustrative of family lawyers when in doubt always blaming the fella.

  2. JamesB says:

    Objectively speaking, I have found that children usually do not have anywhere near the same respect for non biological parents as they do for their biological parents.

  3. Stephanie Bamberger says:


    I agree with you – he raised both children and believed they were his biological children until the DNA showed otherwise. Under California law, he would probably have been out of luck on multiple legal fronts – there is a presumption here that the children born in an intact marriage are the children of the husband, and that he held the children out as his own, took them into his home, and raised them would also have resulted in his being found the legal father. It also sounds to me like he’s more upset about losing the relationship with his children, but I am wondering what he thought would happen when he insisted on having DNA testing done after his daughter turned 18. Of course, his daughter is angry at him. A sad situation all-around.

    • Lucas Thein says:

      He got betrayed at the deepest level. The “daughter” sounds like she’s gonna live the same kind of morally bankrupt lifestyle if she’s defending mom. I say “you lucked out” to him for getting rid of such relationships from his life.

      He also should have picked a younger new wife. What was he doing trading the old ball n’ chain in for a second old one?

  4. Dan says:

    Sad situation but I feel she opened the Pandora’s box not him and he has every right to know the truth. Otherwise what system would you have in place, that men have to accept (and pay for!) whatever babies they’re given……. Doesn’t sound very ethical or equal in an age of supposed equality.

    (I’d support mandatory pat. testing these days – give 10 months notice of the law changing and test all babies – fairest solution for all concerned. )

  5. John Doe says:

    It’s not to prove biology but the innate human nature to value truth and justice above everything else. Why else do victims of rapes, genocides battle on as long as they live just for a public apology (colonial genocides committed by European powers, Japanese war crimes to name a few)?

    Yes, it is an all round sad story. But despite the outcome his soul will be at peace and he’ll not have to carry the burden around.

    Women always take to poisoning a child’s mind against the father (more of a male guardian in this case). But this is just short term. But the children do realise the truth in due course of time.

  6. JamesB says:

    I would also support mandatory pat. testing all round these days is inexpensive and would make everything a lot easier and resolve many issues and prevent issues like these from occurring in the first place.

  7. JamesB says:

    Also, asking your partner or children for a paternity test is a bit of a relationship risk (speaking from experience – sometimes I wonder, but wouldn’t dream of asking), so would be better if it was the default by government. Doubt will though as Government don’t seem to do anything good in this area (family law).

  8. JamesB says:

    I have 3 children. Sometimes I think I doubt they are all three mine. yet, I go on paying maintenance without the test. Should I? How do I get them tested? Would it cost me thousands to go to court? Can I just buy a kit from boots?

  9. BDB says:

    This is a very sad situation for all concerned. However the real innocent victims here are the children, Laura and Adam.
    No doubt Mr Rothwell must have felt very hurt by the rumours he had heard, but after being a loving, caring father for so many years to Laura and Adam he cannot have thought about the hurt they must have endured when they heard that he was questioning paternity and then to hear him say they are not his children. They have asked for non of this.

    A true father is the man who loves and cares for us, raises us to adulthood and is there for us unconditionally. Biology is not the most important thing.

    In his haste to prove his wife a liar and a cheat, Mr.Rothwell has very foolishly lost himself his own children. They are the innocent victims. Financial compensation will not heal any heart in this situation.

    To James B…. in answer to your question i would say………. it all depends how much you love your children, how much you want them to be your children. If you open up a dirty can of nasty worms, they may ruin your relationship with them forever and you will never be able to turn back the clock.

    • Tricia says:

      I have totally pity for Mr. Rothwell. Anyone blaming this guy is dishonest. He has the right to know if those were his children even after 100 years. I have been married to my husband for 41 years, and have no problem doing DNA tests for the children. I wonder if the argument will be same if a woman learnt there is a chance her child was switched at birth at the hospital. Will she make efforts to t look for her real child, or just stay quiet not to “open up a dirty can of nasty worms.”

      I don’t understand how anyone can blame Mr. Rothwell for verifying the rumours. The mere fact that the daughter is angry at Mr. Rothwell instead of blaming the mother speaks volume. It will not be surprising that she knows her biological father, and was part of the game.

      Life will be easier if DNA test was done automatically at birth. This prevents men babysitting their best friend’s children, the mail man’s child or the neighbour’s children. Men are not made of stones to expect them to accept such nonsense. They have a right to choose to raise their own children only. They have a right to decide if they want to be step dads, but deceiving a man to that extent is plain wrong. If I were a man and had an iota of doubt, I will do a DNA test. Having a peaceful mind about your children (or supposed children) is priceless.

  10. LouieF says:

    This was fraud. The woman whom was the only person who knew she was sleeping around withheld that information from him and led him to believe these were his children. These children were cheated out of knowing their biological father whom they will find they likely have very similar mannerisms, etc. The biological father was cheated out of getting to know his children. What this woman did was unconscionable. Not to mention the children’s need to know things like paternal medical history… How could she be defended in any capacity when she lied, cheated and perpetuated a fraud?

  11. MalcolmL says:

    Marilyn, I have read your opinions on this before, and have to conclude that this is something that you, and many other female commentators simply do not understand. It is not a situation you could ever face, and this seems to mean you have no capacity to empathise with men who do.

    The fact is that there is a deep, visceral need to know the truth about paternity. It is utterly foolish and unrealistic to expect men to simply shrug thir shoulders and say “DNA doesn’t matter”. Living with that doubt your whole life could drive you mad. You should ask a psychiatrist or counsellor about the impact this can have this before commenting further.

    You state that what he is really suffering from is the loss of his relationship with his children. That just shows how utterly you fail to understand the emotions involved. The pain he will be feeling purely because of this awful discovery about paternity will be immensely painful in itself. It is impossible to know what is most painful – and you CERTAINLY are not qualified to comment.

    You have also argued that children’s needs come first. That is true but that does NOT mean fathers’ wellbeing is irrelevant.

    If there were uncertainty about my paternity and my father wanted the truth I would COMPLETELY understand and support him.

    I really belive you simply have no idea what this means to a father. If you cannot understand something, it is better not to comment. Again, if you do want to make public statements on this issue, it would be a good idea to take advice on what it means to male humans from someone qualified to explain it to you. You clearly do not have a clue, even if you think you do.

  12. MalcolmL says:

    @BDB – saying this is sad for all comcerned is like saying it’s sad for a criminal when they get sent to jail. It may be “sad” for the mother but she brought this on herself and caused immense emotional harm to the father in the process.

    I can assure you if I were in the children’s shoes I would be suffering FAR less than the father. It is not necessarily true that they are the principle victims.

    To children, the man who cares for you is your father and DNA is secondary. But a man can deeply love his children and STILL have a deep, powerful, irresistable need to knowi if they are your own children.

    It seems obvious you are not male and, as with the author, you simply do not seem to understand.

    Can you not see that the opinions of those incapable of actually understanding the father’s feelings and motivations are not very relevant or valuable?

  13. MalcolmL says:

    By the way, Marilyn, there IS evidence on the prevalence of paternity fraud. This is the second time you have claimed there is not, but you can simply Google it and you will find genuine academic research. Liverpool John Moores university published findings a few years ago which showed between 1and 4% of children have misattributed paternity. Lower than the urban myths but Even at the low end, that is still a HUGE number of deceived men and children.

  14. BDB says:

    You are quite right when you say the mother brought it on herself but, as i said, it is sad for all involved, including her, for we shall never know the true reasons for her having to live a secret life of deceit.

    You can’t say that if you were in the children’s shoes you would be be suffering FAR less than the father, i am sure they are suffering equally. After believing he was their father for 18 years they are suddenly told he isn’t. Why would that news hurt them less than him?! The bereavement is the same, they have lost a parent.

    As a father he had a decision to make – if a paternity test is negative it would be heartbreaking for him, and most importantly it would also be devastating news for the children and may be eternally damaging to their relationship – he made that choice, they had no choice.

    I totally respect your comments regarding the overwhelming need to know the DNA and the fathers motivations must have been extremely strong indeed. I feel for the father, but i also feel for the young one’s, who have little life experience coping with such an enormous emotional trauma, they are totally innocent victims, there’s no getting away from that.

    One must try to understand the children’s feelings as well as the fathers – they are also suffering a great loss.

    And yes, the mother has behaved disgracefully, deceiving her husband and her children – shame on her.

    It s no good having one sided opinions just considering the fathers feelings.

  15. Dan says:

    MalcolmL, I agree with your comments but you/I have to give full marks for Marilyn for publishing comments from Men who hold different views to her. Very refreshing and quite rare when looking at many blogs.

    Marilyn, I forgot to say how much I enjoy your site/blog.

    1%-4%…. Whatever the figure (and I’ve heard that certain gene tests in the US not widely reported, had to stop using male DNA because of the quantity of mismatches…), it’s too many and very sad and I don’t think we will get near equality of the sexes without more men’s rights in this area.

    Personally, and very cynically I know, I’d only entertain a condom free relationship where my partner agreed to a pat. test up front before any birth…. In terms of crime surely it’s the male equivalent being raped continually for the rest of your life.

  16. LouieF says:

    Your comments are very well articulated.
    @BDB I believe many people *over emphasize* the impact to children. I did not know my step-father was not my biological father until I came home from school one day and found a Christmas card addressed to me from some unknown man. It wasn’t that my step-father intentionally mislead me, it just wasn’t something that had been discussed and he never crossed my mother, whom did intentionally mislead me, my step-father, and my father.
    As a child in a similar situation, my life is much richer with my biological father in it. My step father is also a huge part of my life. Truly, I have two fathers. I have one I can relate to because I have a lifetime of experiences and affection. I have another I can relate to because we are so similar in so many ways we instantly connected.
    Lets not negate the fact that there is a third man in this equation. What about him and his rights to his children? Would a woman not want to know her biological child if after 20 years it was determined that the hospital accidentally swapped children?
    Honestly, I think paternity tests should be mandatory at birth. Fraud of this magnitude should be a criminal offensive just as fraud in any other capacity is.

  17. James D says:

    “But was it all worth it in the end?”

    You are neglecting the fact that he didn’t abandon his children based on the DNA evidence, his wife had already DIVORCED him. He was tied down paying alimony and child support for a wife who never mothered his children and had deceived him for 20 years.

    “Is he entirely blameless”
    Of course not, it’s all his fault, what a pesky man for actually finding out the truth.

    Jesus Christ, if this article and your opinions on the case are anything to go by, no wonder men aren’t getting married any more. You must have another theory as to why that is the case, “they are afraid of commitment”. Bingo. They are afraid of being tied into a life of indebted servitude to liars and cheats who are somehow immune from personal accountability in the eyes of most courts. Not to mention the payments made out to parasites such as yourself (the biggest cause of distress for children I might add).

  18. magdelyn says:

    Was it worth it? Yes. He was in the service of a lying piece of garbage. Maybe he wanted biological children of his own? He’s been humilated, financially exploited, and now we are all laughing at him.

  19. Joey Joe joe says:

    Nice victim blaming there. It’s his fault for wanting the truth. He was fully willing and attempted to continue his relationship with his children. She actively denied this. She went out of her way to be the reprehensible monster that he didn’t know she was, and you’re saying it’s his fault for not predicting her actions?

  20. Ted says:

    In maternity wards, keeping track of which baby came from which mother must have an administrative cost. We all want to see lower costs, so why bother with all that nonsense? Just give the first available baby to the first available mother, because, after all, “Biology comes a distant second.”

  21. Joel Robinson says:

    To the ladies who think this guy is making a big deal out of nothing, how would you react if you found out on your child’s 10th birthday that the hospital had accidentally switched children on you? Is it still no big deal?

  22. Jesus_marley says:

    The vast majority of people in this world have a biological imperative to pass their genes down to the next generation. It is the closest thing to immortality we can hope for, sending a part of ourselves into the future. Obviously it is not the only connection we have to our children, but it is still a strong one. Every person has a right to know that the children they believe are theirs are in fact theirs. This man was robbed of that.

  23. Tom N. says:

    So your point is to “think about the children”?

    We live in a society where we try to hold people accountable for their actions. If a single mother commits a heinous crime, she should go to jail just like anyone else. Having kids doesn’t make her crime less punishable, nor should it.

    A massive injustice was done to this man, and you are telling him that he should suck it up because he raised the perpetrator’s children? What about knowing the truth? What about this man? Why are his children’s feelings more important than holding his wife accountable for the injustice done to him? Do you propose he waits until the kids are older to tell them that his medical history is irrelevant to their own health care? The daughter is already 20 years old!

    Men: do not get married. You do not need it to have children. If you do marry, get a pre-nup, and always get a paternity test. I don’t care if your wife/gf gets offended by these things. Let her be offended. If she leaves you, then she was never committed to you anyway. There are bad people out there, and they can be masters at fooling you.

  24. Danny says:

    But is he entirely blameless?
    In the situation of the paternity fraud yes he actually is blameless.

    The mother is the one that committed the fraud. Plain and simple.

    The attempts at trying to make this all about his decision to follow up on his suspicions and take action once they were proven right is misdirection at best and victim blaming at worst.

    No amount of “a real father doesn’t worry about the DNA” is enough to make this all his fault.

    And some of the commenters here seem to think that he should have just continued to live the lie.

    If the DNA doesn’t matter then why did the mother lie in the first place? Why didn’t she just fess up about the affair when it happened? I have an idea about that. I’m willing to bet that proof of an affair would have pretty much guaranteed no child support.

    Joel Robinson:
    To the ladies who think this guy is making a big deal out of nothing, how would you react if you found out on your child’s 10th birthday that the hospital had accidentally switched children on you? Is it still no big deal?

    10th birthday? Hell there are a few cases out there where children were switched for a few days and the respective parents sued for tens of thousands of dollars….and won.

    It genuine accidents call for tougher action and condemnation than intentional deceit.

  25. Patrick from Belfast says:

    Can a woman even conceive of this betrayal? She knows that evevery child she bears is her own. Men do not have that privilege.

  26. Michael Steane says:

    If it were possible to commit maternity fraud, it would be policed by men and punished severely. Paternity fraud should be a criminal offence and those committing it subject to penalties comparable with rapists.

  27. Dave says:

    This is a terrible article but par for the course by anyone associated with the disgrace that is our Family Law system.

    There’s a very simple solution to these issues. All children should be be DNA tested at birth to check for a match with the person the mother is alleging to be the father, this would solve so many problems and give fathers the same rights mothers have in being certain they are raising their own child. Perhaps the main benefit in the long run is that if women knew they would be caught committing paternity fraud, i.e.e scamming men into raising other people’s children and denying them the right to have their own children, then less women would be tempted to commit such an evil crime.

    It goes without saying that the DNA sample should be destroyed once the testing is complete.

  28. JamesB says:

    Tom, your last paragraph does solve the problems that many come up against and the injustices against many men done by the law, if everyone did that there would be no reason for Judges, thus why the family law Judges and politicians and lawyers do not change the law to be fair like what you propose. It would be cheaper and better for government and society and is why I struggle with politicians and lawyers who argue against your proposals, indeed peopkle who do argue against them also, cheers.

  29. bobsutan says:

    Paternity Fraud absolutely should be a criminal offense at this point.

    1. it’s defrauding the non-bio dad of his resources

    2. it’s defrauding the non-bio dad of the opportunity to have biological children of his own.

    3. it’s kidnapping the child from the biological father, assuming the biological father isn’t notified of the child’s birth.

    Reimbursing the defrauded man is the least that should happen in these sort of cases. Ideally there should be some sort of punitive action, either legal or civil (I vote for both), to account for the damages done to all involved by the perpetrator of this vicious fraud (the mother).

  30. Mike Buchanan says:

    An appalling story. Paternity fraud is believed to happen with respect to 10-30% of births. The solution is obvious, simple, and inexpensive. Compuslory paternity tests when a baby is born. Why should one man spend 20+ years supporting another man’s child (or children)? To argue that he should is simply outrageous. What woman would work for 20+ years supporting another woman’s child? Unthinkable.

    Mike Buchanan

  31. eric says:

    Just another article by a middle-class feminist lawyer.

    Why does the article analyze the man’s actions and not the mothers, you know, the criminal’s actions?

    This is an extremely biased article that is to be expected from a middle-class woman. When in doubt ignore the woman’s/mother’s deceptive, criminal act and focus all attention on the father.

    I’m sure if this was a man who duped a woman into raising a kid he had with another woman the article would be all about the man’s lies and how he stabbed the woman who loved him in the back.

    This woman hurt her own children as well as her ex-husband. Your article in just a middle-class woman’s rambling gender bias.

  32. JamesB says:

    Testing should be compulsary on birth, sorted, that would stop the crime in the first place.

    Alternatively yes, it should be a bad criminal offence, and one where the victim should be compensated by the perpetrator. Another very clear example of family law only ever being lobbied, and written for women and homosexuals and never for heterosexual men. There is no voice in parliament or the family law courts on family law in this country for heterosexual men. Hense the decline in marriage. The only place we have is banging on on here where we all agree with each other (the other millions are not on here) and no one else listens to the population who regard the existing family law as horrifically bad. Why do they carry on with it when it is so discredited? For the want of something better I suppose. Well. Dave gives the way forwards and how to avoid the dodgy bad law on this subject above. Which I find sad, but in an age of divorce on demand and the subsequent injustices contrary to natural law, necessary.

  33. JamesB says:

    So, I agree with Harry I suppose. The chap pro marriage from Bristol, part of the group saying Government need to do something to reverse the trend away from Marriage and they have no policy at present. I have said what should be. Harry should also advise what he thinks they should do rather than moaning about what is not working.

    While he is at it he should advise on how government can stop the trend for men to marry foreign women and marriage fail and women to marry foreign men and marriage fail in this country.

    My suggestion for that is that there should be relationship classes at school. And by that I do not mean feminism classes, that is what got us into this mess. The curriculum should be agreed between Fathers for Justice and Gingerbread. Now, that meeting I would love to be a fly on the wall for!!!

    I don’t want my children to go through bad relationships thus I think relationship classes at school are a good idea. Teaching respect and not just anti men as so many female teachers are. Another issue. I suppose that issue is because women doing better at school and education.

    Now, at least the Government are doing something to correct that issue! Specifically getting rid of coursework and making people pay tuition fees so as not to do courses like gender and media studies which dont really help businessand learn how to insist on their rights and how to hate men at university which is driving men and women apart in this country. I would rather we got on. Thus, yep, I am looking forward to F4J and Gingerbread sitting down and writting a curriculum for relationship classes.

    If Sinn Fein and the DUP can do it, work together, then F4J and Gingerbread should be able to.

  34. Paul. says:

    This has happened to me recently.

    Hello everyone.
    I have read this blog and comments and would really like some advice myself.
    All the comments seem to come from very reasonable people so here goes.
    Last spring a gentleman came knocking at my door. He seemed a really nice chap and told me that for the last 21 years, I have been deceived.
    In 1989 I started a relationship with a girl of 17, I was 19 and we got on very well. After a couple of months decided to move in with each other. Life was good and we were very happy together.
    In 1990 we were out with friends in a nightclub when some trouble started with my girlfriend and her friend and some other girls.
    I don’t really want to go into detail but in the end our gang of friends ended up following there gang home and it ended up that I and others got arrested.
    In May 1990 I was sentenced to six months in a young offenders institute.
    My girlfriend visited me every week or two but things were not as good as before. We seemed to get on okay but it felt like our relationship was not going anywhere.
    In November 1990 I got out. I decided to move out and go back to my mums.
    In December my girlfriend told me that she was pregnant.
    My son was born on 31st July 1991.
    I was at the birth and watched him come into this world.
    We stayed together for another 5 years before we decided that it would better to split up.
    I looked after my son most weekends and on Wednesday’s as my ex used to play darts with my mum and other family members.
    I did all the dad stuff that most dads do and had (and still have) a really close relationship with my son.
    Well the years went by, I have not had another long term relationship with a woman.
    My mother says I am too fussy but I just never met the “one”.
    My ex met a few men and eventually met a nice chap and got married. They had a baby girl not long after.
    My son went to University in 2009 but only stayed for the first year. He moved back to our area and came to live with me. He is still living with me in 2013.
    So lets go back to last spring.
    The chap at my door had some news for me.
    He was my sons father and has been trying to get my ex to admit it for the last couple of years.
    When I was away in 1990 he had a very short relationship with her and they had intercourse on her birthday (November 2nd).
    He found out she was pregnant and asked if he was the father. She said that he could not be as the baby due date was the end of June. Over the next couple of years he did bump in to her and asked again. She said no it could not be so he left the matter.
    In 2008 he was on Facebook and one of his friends had my ex as a friend. He looked on her page and found pictures of my son and could not believe the likeness to himself.
    He then got in touch with her again and was told that he was not the father and that was that.
    He did not give up and wanted a DNA test done to prove it.
    Solicitors letters went this way and that. She was adamant that he was not the dad and would not let him have the test.
    As it turned out my son was over 18 so he did not need her permission, he got in touch with him and after showing pictures of himself to show the likeness, my son agreed to do the test.
    My son found out the positive results when he was at Uni but did not want me to find out as he was worried about my reaction.
    Last spring the chap told my son that he was going to tell me as he wanted it all in the open.
    So this chap is at my door telling me this story and showing me all the solicitors letters and correspondence he had with my ex. I could see straight away, the likeness and just new he was telling the truth.
    My reaction to all this has been very placid, I am on anti depressant tablets and have taken it quite well.
    My son is now being encouraged by me to form some sort of relationship with his real dad as he seems a really nice guy. He has had a lot of heartache over this and so has his mother as he never had and more kids/grandkids.
    My ex has not made any comment to me about it and I have not bothered speaking to her.
    She is not sorry, only sorry that she got found out.
    Should I let this go as I feel wronged.
    I now have no biological children and not much chance of having any in the future.
    I still class my boy as my boy (even though he is now 21).
    I feel she should be held to account for her actions. She new that she had sex on November 2nd and my son was born on July 31st. 3 days off a 9 month pregnancy. She should of had a test back then to be sure and not just choose who she wanted so as to not make her look bad.
    I still get on very well with her parents, they are not too pleased with there daughter’s lies.
    What should I do if anything.
    My son has had a lot of stress himself over this and was probably the reason he did not finish Uni. I hope he goes back someday.
    Leave it ?
    Sue her for deceit ?
    Me and my son still love each other just the same. could I ruin this by taking action ?
    Thank you if you read all of this and any advice would be welcome.

  35. luy says:

    But… the kids are 14 and 17 years old now.
    And the mother should tell them the truth before they know it by other means.

  36. sara paterson says:

    can any one help please my husaband can not have children but has one child with his x wife by sperm donanation done through the gp my husband worked away a lot and she rang him and said they where haveing a baby she left my husband whilst pregant for another man and married him my huband pays money every month since then my self and my husband have gone to the gp for ivf our gp as no record of a child concived with sperm donantion his x wife what should we do

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Sara
      Does your husband want a declaration he is not the parent and?or does he not want to pay child support?
      In either case he should see a solicitor local to you.

  37. JamesB says:

    Just wanted to say sorry to Paul. Also, I think he is still your son. Kind regards.

  38. April Day says:

    I’m sorry, but I totally disagree with Marilyn about this issue.

    I feel Mr. Rodwell had the right to know if the children of his marriage were his or not. Laura and Adam had the right to know the truth too. (Please note that Laura was an adult when the DNA tests were conducted.)

    I’m a woman and the mother of four. I know who all of my children’s father(s) were. I was married twice. The children of my first marriage were fathered by my first husband. The children of my second marriage were fathered by my second husband.

    How do I know? Because I did not commit adultery. If DNA testing was conducted on my children today, I wouldn’t feel a twinge of guilt or fear because I didn’t do anything wrong.

    The children from my first marriage have a “Dad” — my second husband, a stepfather who has helped raise them since elementary school. They love him very much, and he loves them. But they have always known that he was not their biological father. I didn’t mislead them.

    After our divorce, my first husband didn’t want to be involved with our children’s lives. That was his choice. But if he wanted to have a relationship with them, I would not have tried to stop it. Why? Because children have just as much to have a relationship with their biological father as they do with me (their biological mother.)

    I hope you will change our opinion about this. When it comes to paternity, honesty is the best policy.

  39. Luke says:

    You have been severely wronged Paul, as has your non-biological son and his biological father, women on here that say “it doesn’t matter” need a MASSIVE reality check.

  40. Name Witheld says:

    I do not like to judge. I will just comment. I have two boys. Of one I am the biological father of the other not. My wife told me this when the eldest was five and the youngest three (we were having an argument at the time). I think of them both as my sons.
    However what I find a bit missing in this discussion is any true appreciation of the psychological damage this causes. I find it similar to rape in some ways. Usually rape victims stress the feelings of shame, guilt, powerlessness etc.. I know those feelings. I think many times about killing myself, but I also know I won’t. Either I don’t have the guts or I enjoy what my life currently has to offer.
    I wonder if anyone else (probably very few men actually know they have been cuckolded) understands how it feels when acquaintances say how different the boys look?

  41. Paul says:

    I am now in the process of taking court action. She still does not acknowledge her actions and is quite happy to go on holiday one or two times a year. She has still not apologised or even spoke to me regarding the situation. My mum passed away last month and always told me not to open a can of worms but seeing her on Facebook as happy as Larry with pictures of her on holidays round the world and forgetting her passed behaviour is not acceptable to me.
    Any thoughts welcome.

  42. Drew says:

    Quite an interesting article justifying paternity fraud. Always watch how feminists (leftists, marxists) talk out of two sides of their mouth. She claims she thinks the wife was bad for doing what she did, but then she says the man should have just sucked it up and taken it like a man basically…for the kids. She opposes the remedy (taking a DNA test at whatever stage in the game the man feels like), then she supports the problem.

    So since women don’t have men’s backs in this, it is up to the men to stop being so stupid and look after themselves. Articles written by feminists poo-pooing paternity fraud, combined with so many cases of men being wronged world wide and still being forced to pay, or even worse having judgements awarded to them for being wronged overturned…it’s easy to see why, as some say, there is a marriage strike in the western part of the world and men are giving up on marriage.

    Of course, feminists for all their pretension to care about victims, love to victim blame when the victim has XY chromosomes. again

  43. Lorraine says:

    My partner split from his ex wife 7 years ago and has just found out one of his daughters is not his after 17 years of thinking she was. DNA testing proved him not to be the dad this was done after years of trying as she kept throwing up in arguments – but actually said it was the other daughter that wasn’t his. He paid for tests before that cost 480 pound. She took the one that was his biological daughter, but refused the other one that was later proved to be not to be his. He still had to pay child support for her even tho she wouldn’t have the test done.
    Since finding out that she definitely isn’t his she has turned both girls against him.
    Child maint have actually agreed that he is entitled to a refund of the past 7 years of payments for that child as he brought this to their attention in 2010.
    I would like to see her go to court for deception it is unbelievable the heartache this has caused my husband

  44. Chelsey says:

    For the heartless people who say it doesn’t matter, let me tell you what this feels like coming from the other side of the fence. I am the child. My mother lied to my father about my paternity, and I found out two months ago, at 31 years old, that she did this horrible thing.

    I have never felt so betrayed in my entire life. Have you ever felt angry because someone lied to you? How about expanding that across your entire life? How about factoring in the fact that my paternal grandfather died 14 years ago and I will never know him? What about the cousins, aunts, and uncles that I am just now meeting? What about my grandparents who never saw me grow up? Do you have grandkids? Imagine never being able to see them because some crazy brat decided she couldn’t be bothered. Worst of all, imagine KNOWING they existed and being forced away.

    My relationship with my mother is dead. I once thought she was the only consistent person in my life, the one person that would always be on my side, and always do what is in my best interest. Women who do this deserve punishment, the worst of punishments, and if the law can’t do it currently, then I will shun and shame her until she wilts from it. Will I ever leave her grandchildren with her? No. She’s lucky she’ll even be allowed to see them at all, as she was more than willing to deny my grandparents the opportunity. Will I ever listen to or believe anything she ever says again? No. I have blocked a single person on my phone only once in my life. Guess who it is?

    If you do this to your child, I hope that the poor thing has no mercy on you, that you lose every ounce of relationship with them, and you deserve every amount of spite from it. Paternity fraud is evil. It is EVIL.

    For my Dad, I am eternally grateful for the role he played in my life. He still loves me. He still wants me to come around for holidays and family gatherings. He hasn’t abandoned me to the winds, and that means so much to me. I feel the love, and it is real. I know I can’t take back any of the pain this situation has caused him, but having him in my life enriches it. Knowing that he still wants me to be a part of his life makes this all bearable. My Dad’s support and my fiance’s are the only reasons that I haven’t completely lost it, and I am eternally grateful.

    For my biological father, I am lucky that he wanted me. I had to cold call this man at his business because I only had a name and a prayer that he didn’t immediately hang up the phone when I told him why I was calling. He didn’t hang up, and he called me by name before I’d ever introduced myself. I burst into tears at work. This man had tried to get in contact with me when I was in high school via a letter, which my mom told me was a cruel prank from some guy she used to date. That letter always stayed in my mind. If a letter is your only option, write that letter. Plant the seed of doubt. It might be a late-bloomer, but when I went looking for the truth, it was the thing that helped me believe that I wasn’t crazy.

    Thank you for listening to my story.

  45. John Williams says:

    This has happened to me! There were rumours that my youngest son wasn’t actually mine. I confronted my ex-wife (the child’s mother), and she assured me that the child was mine. However, we did a a DNA test, and whilst waiting for the result, I told my ex about the test. That was when she told me the truth, and had known since ‘conception’, and the biological father also knew. He didn’t want to know, so my ex duped me into believing that I was the biological father. The DNA result came, and hey presto!…I am not my child’s father. The child was 22 when I found out that he wasn’t mine! I had been paying maintenance for him for over 10 years. I was told that I couldn’t sue my ex, in any case, she hasn’t got any money! The father has since done a DNA test and the result proved that he is indeed the biological father. I have 2 other sons by my ex, which makes it really difficult to take her to court, for fear of upsetting them. This woman has no idea of the mess she and her ‘man’ has created for me and the 3 boys. Its not about the money, but I feel that someone should pay for this despicable behaviour.

  46. Matthew says:


    Of course a family law firm will try to twist this into a blame game on the man!

    What this woman did should be criminal. If she had convinced him to participate in a financial transaction that totalled one-hundred thousand pounds, and then the outcome was completely fraudulent, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    This nonsensical view that women can do no wrong as a spouse is irritating, and illogical. Women are supposedly equal, so why are we so recalcitrant to hold them accountable like the responsible adults they are?

  47. John says:

    Men don’t invest in futures they have no stake in.

    Allowing men authority over their households and wives was essential for ensuring his knowledge of the legitimacy of his genetic legacy. Wives that still managed to break this covenant were severely punished. Today no one cares if a man’s children are his own or if a man even has the opportunity to create a family and yet they expect him to sacrifice to support a system that views him as entirely disposable. It’s not hard to see why there is a rise in communism and anarchism in the west today nor, is it hard to see why so many young men retreat from society into the oblivion of porn, video games and other non-productive hobbies.

  48. Nick says:

    I think this is a tragedy. However, I don’t like the fact that the author implied that the father is also at fault for wanting to be sure of his paternity. The man is 100% the victim and needs our sympathy and prayers.

  49. William says:

    I was married and we had two children but the marriage was a fake one after my wife got pregnant the second time. I stayed because of the children until she asked for a divorce and served papers on me for a stupid excuse so I countersued. After checking medical records I found the second child’s blood group meant he was not my son, the older one was by then an adult. I then told her if she demanded half of the value of the house I would name her boyfriend and make it ugly so she agreed to accepting 20% with a very generous maintenance for the son until he was 18. All went through and then I contacted the child support agency and after I had DNA done they agreed I did not have to pay. I then married a lovely younger lady and we had three children. My ex and her new husband had banked on my payments to cover their mortgage but amusingly enough they were evicted when the money went.

  50. Abigail says:

    Wow, first your parents divorce. Then your father decides he doesn’t believe you are his child. Then he has it formally tested. Then he demands a refund from your mother for what he spent on your upbringing.
    It feels a bit like being a product from a shop that the buyer no longer wants.
    And he thinks the mother is turning the children against him?
    Has it occurred to him that this formal rejection of what he sees as their faulty DNA might be a bit of problem for them?
    It does sound like he wasn’t a particularly committed parent to begin with.
    If his relationship with these two children is this weak I think it is probably best that he did not have more children. I wonder how he would have demanded a refund for the ones whose DNA he shared? Or would he simply have been resentfully compliant? Those poor children. What bad luck to have such a pair of adults as parents.

    • Clifford says:

      Are you crazy? No one is denying that the children of such deceit can also be very much hurt by it, but on what planet is the man even remotely responsible?

  51. CP Chan says:

    What kind of victim blaming is this? She cheated and defraud him of his resources and funds that he could have spend on children of his own. It’s the cheating woman’s fault, both the husband and children are victims

  52. Valerian says:

    A scenario for the author of this piece: a woman gives birth at the hospital. Unbeknownst to her, the child is swapped with another and she spends the next few years raising it. However, she grows suspicious when the child does not look like her or her husband. Moreover, the child has an inherited condition that neither she nor her husband carries. She takes a DNA test and discovers the child is not hers.

    This scenario would probably result in the hospital being sued and widespread media coverage. The mother would search high and low for *her* child. There would inevitably be demands for new regulations to prevent such a tragedy happening again.

    I wonder if the author would tell her that “biology comes a distant second” and not to open Pandora’s box. Perhaps hospitals shouldn’t bother with the measures they take to ensure mothers and newborns are not separated. Just hand her the nearest baby and if she later finds out it’s the wrong one, tell her tough. Shut up and carrying on raising the kid you have.

    I suspect a spike in maternity fraud would soon lead to tougher measures to combat it; society cares a lot when mothers are separated from their children, but doesn’t give a damn when it’s the father who is duped into raising someone else’s child. He even gets blamed for it.

    People like the author hide behind the “best interests of the child”, but it seems to me that it is not a child’s best interests to be lied to about his or her parentage, or genetic history. Nor is it in their interests to be raised under false pretenses.

    Finally, why is this woman not in prison? It seems to me that she is guilty of fraud under Section 1 of the Fraud Act: misrepresentation and/or failing to disclose information. £25,000 is a drop in the ocean compared to what was stolen from this man over two decades. Punishing paternity fraud with custodial sentences would soon diminish the number of cases like this.

    • Clifford says:

      Very good points and arguments. I don’t care how learned the author thinks she is, these cases show the reality of feminism in its total failure to take any responsibility for the wrongs that women can, and do, do. Men don’t have a monopoly on outright deceit and lies, that’s for sure.

    • Clifford says:

      This is well said indeed. It is so revealing with issues and incidents such as these, where it seems that never do the feminists accept or grasp that some women can be every bit as deceitful and exploitative as some men.

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