Child maintenance and deceit over paternity

The Ministry of Justice in Germany has recently proposed a change to their laws, which would require mothers to reveal their sexual history, in certain cases involving disputed paternity. The change in regulations would apply to “fathers” that had supported the child financially, later seeking redress through the courts for the child maintenance they had paid.

It is hoped that the changes would enable the fathers that had been misled regarding paternity to recover the child maintenance from the biological father more easily. Germany already provides for legal protection to “false fathers” to recover child maintenance, but would take such circumstances a step further by requiring the mother to detail her sexual history around the time of conception, so that the false father could seek the child maintenance recovery directly from the biological father, although this would be capped to two years’ worth of child maintenance.

Although it may at first appear to be a relatively unusual scenario, a 2005 report from the British Medical Journal suggested that approximately one in 25 children were fathered biologically by a party other than the man believed to be the father.

Such cases reported through the courts are also rare, although a 2015 case heard about a disputed paternity case wherein the false father sought damages in deceit of almost £84,000, covering child maintenance, loss of earnings and child care costs.

It is a long held point of policy that the courts in the UK will not provide damages awarded for child maintenance, although other heads of loss may be sought and recoverable. As more and more cases of this nature are brought before the courts, the tide may turn to enable the court to consider their position regarding these heads of loss and what information, including their sexual history, mothers may be required to provide, in order to assist a “false father” in recovering child maintenance and other payments.

If you want to discuss child maintenance and the impact it may have in your separation and family, speak with one of our specialist solicitors today. Contact us on 01234 889777 to take advantage of our free initial consultation service.


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