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The girl is not mine!

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A man who was deceived by his ex wife into believing that he was the father of her child is pursuing her through the courts for compensation.

The child, who is now in her 20s, was fathered by the wife's lover when they conducted an affair behind the man's back. He had absolutely no idea that he was not the father until a DNA test was carried out when the couple divorced, when the child was 18. He is now suing both his ex wife and her lover for the monies that he spent on the child under the impression that he was her father all along. It is his case that his ex wife plotted with her lover to lie so to avoid the lover having to pay maintenance to his child, which he would have otherwise been required to do.

The case was dismissed on the first occasion by the County Court, and the man therefore took it to the Court of Appeal. However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the case, on the basis that further court proceedings will only serve to increase the costs, "both financial and emotional", for all concerned. Another reason for the case being dismissed may well be that if it were allowed to go ahead, the floodgates for similar cases would be opened, as it is quite possible that other "fathers" have found themselves in the same position. His only recourse may now be the European Court of Human Rights.

The wife was described during the case as an "inveterate liar", having deceived her husband throughout the marriage, seemingly for financial gain for herself and for her lover, with whom it transpired she continued to meet after the child was conceived. If it had been known all along that the lover was the child's biological father, he would have been required by the Child Support Agency to pay 15% of his net income to the wife by way of child maintenance. Instead, the husband was responsible for the child's upbringing, so it is no wonder he is feeling more than "a bit miffed" and has taken them both to court.

However, as with all contentious matters, issues of proportionality need to be considered before rushing off to court. Whilst this husband understandably feels hard done by, he needs to think about how much it is going to cost him in legal fees to try to prove his case. This case is clearly a matter of principle for him so he may feel that he needs to have his voice heard, whatever the cost. But he, as do all parties contemplating going to court on any type of family related matter, needs to think about the effect that the proceedings will have, both financially and emotionally, particularly where success is not guaranteed.

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