A man who paid £12,000 to his ex-wife in child maintenance only to find out that each of the children had been fathered by different men has won a £25,000 payout on the grounds of deceit. Following his separation from his wife in 2004, Richard Rodwell continued to pay £300 a month in child maintenance costs to his son and daughter. However, rumours began to circulate following the separation that Mr Rodwell’s ex-wife had been unfaithful with different men during the relationship and he may not be the biological father to the children as a result. Mr Rodwell demanded a paternity test and discovered that the children were born out of two separate affairs. As a result, Mr Rodwell won £25,000 because the judge treated his case as a double bereavement and awarded damages accordingly.
The government’s website outlines what needs to be done in cases where the paternity is under question. A man must first try to provide proof that the child is not theirs. If they are unable to provide the conclusive proof needed as many are not, the Child Maintenance Service may exercise it’s right to order a DNA test. However this will require consent from all parties concerned.
Mr Rodwell was presumed to the be the biological father of the children by the court because he had been married to their mother from before the conception until after the birth. Indeed, Mr Rodwell himself only started to question his paternity after he had separated from his wife and therefore had not asked for a DNA test during divorce proceedings.
Whilst the CMS can pay back money which someone has wrongly paid in child maintenance the time between Mr Rodwell’s first payment and his final one was too great. The CMS was not therefore in a position to compensate Mr Rodwell for the money he had paid in child support, thus necessitating an application through the civil justice system.
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