Man wins £39,000 in damages for paternity deception

Children|March 23rd 2015

The ex-wife of a lecturer has been ordered to pay him £39,000 after telling him he was the father of a child born to IVF for close to six years.

The couple, referred to in a Central London County Court hearing as ‘X’ and ‘Y’, married in 2002 but encountered difficulties conceiving a child. After two years they travelled to a fertility clinic in Spain for IVF treatment. He provided a sperm sample but the wife returned to the clinic later with a former boyfriend and was impregnated with the latter’s sperm. Despite this, she told her husband that he was the father.

A son was born in 2005 but the couple’s marriage quickly ran into trouble and the couple separated when the boy was just six months old. The man paid child maintenance for several years- more than £80,000 in total according to his lawyer. However, in 2011, they argued over the amount of contact the man had with the child and at that point she suddenly revealed that he was not the five year-old’s father after all. Her claim was verified by a DNA test.

The man, who is now in his 60s, launched legal action, seeking compensation and damages for the “distress and humiliation” he had felt on being told the truth.

The woman, in her 50s, insisted that her ex-husband always understood he might not be boy’s father. She said he had made her sign a document stating that he was would not have financial responsibility for any child born from the IVF treatment and she had been upset by this.

But Judge Deborah Taylor was unconvinced, saying she found the woman’s claims “highly improbable”. She awarded the lecturer £10,000 in damages, £4,000 for loss of earnings and in excess of £25,000 for the child maintenance he had wrongfully paid.

Following the verdict, the man said:

“I wanted my former wife, and her former boyfriend, to realise the consequences of their deceitful actions practised over almost six years. It has deeply affected me and my family, but most importantly their own son and my ex-son, which is absolutely appalling.”

He had not seen the boy, now nine, since the woman’s revelation. But despite the deceit, the lecturer said missed the boy and did not regret the time he spent with him.

“I live in hope that when he is 18 he looks for me, and I and my family can show him how much we loved him and he can be part of our lives again.”

The woman was also ordered to pay his legal costs, estimated at £60,000.

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