In Great Britain, a court has ordered a woman to pay a man £250,000 for paternity fraud (The Sun, 1/6/19). That’s great news, right? After all, paternity fraud is illegal precisely nowhere. In about five states in the U.S. there can be very limited financial consequences for lying about paternity, but a court’s awarding a defrauded man damages is all but unheard of. But alas, the reality of the British case is far less encouraging than we might have wished.
It seems Richard and Kate Mason were married for over 20 years and had three sons including younger twins. They divorced in 2006 and, pursuant to the financial settlement, the co-founder of the internet comparison site, MoneySupermarket.com, forked over a hefty £4 milllion. The two went their separate ways.
Then, in 2016, Richard was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. He was also informed that he’d been sterile since he was born. So he went to court to try to retrieve the money he’d been forced to pay his ex on the boys’ behalf and, recently, the court agreed. The award of $250,000 of course looks pretty insubstantial, but we must remember that it has nothing to do with any civil wrong she committed. There was none. Again, there’s no law against doing what she did. It was simply a case of her having lied about paternity and therefore received things like child maintenance, school expenses, etc. by fraud.
Remarkably, when confronted by the evidence, Kate tried to bluff.
Mrs Mason initially said "of course the boys are yours, no matter what the science might suggest" when he revealed he knew he couldn't have conceived them, but later confessed to the betrayal when confronted by her eldest son.Memo to Kate: the science of genetics doesn’t “suggest” anything about paternity; it demonstrates it to an almost absolute certainty.
He believes there must have been some doubt in his ex's mind when she fell pregnant seven years into their marriage, and thinks she "tricked" him into bringing up the boys.
Mrs Mason confessed over six to 12 times she had sex with her colleague, but was adamant he couldn't be the dad as the pair always used condoms.Whether they “always used condoms” or not, Kate’s claim is shown to be false by her own behavior.
Legal documents seen by the Mail on Sunday reveal Mrs Mason declared a sudden interest in Judaism when she first fell pregnant.
She also insisted all three children have Jewish middle names, something Mr Mason now believes is a clue to the identity of the real father.So she was having sex with a Jewish man and, when she gave birth, insisted that the boys have Jewish middle names. And she wants us to believe that she had no doubt that they were her husband’s. Dubious, very, very dubious.
Meanwhile, like most victims of paternity fraud Richard is devastated by the news that the boys he helped raise aren’t his.
Mr Mason, from Rhos, North Wales, told The Mail on Sunday: “You don’t know what’s real and what isn’t — it’s as if I’m living in The Matrix.
“Someone says to you, ‘All you know and everything you thought solid and true is not real, and never did exist. You are not a father, you are not able to have kids, your name will not continue’.
“I still see what the boys are doing on Facebook and it’s heart-wrenching. It’s all been taken away from me.”His anguish has been made all the worse because the boys (one is 23 and the twins are 19) have decided that Richard is at fault for suing Kate to get back the money of which she defrauded him 12 years ago. Amazing but true. Somehow they’ve managed to overlook both their mother’s serial adultery and her subsequent lying about paternity. And of course those lies were as much directed at them as at Richard. I hate to break it to them, but they actually do have a father, but Kate refuses to tell anyone who he is.
In short, her paternity fraud, like all paternity fraud, impacts Richard, the children and the actual father. Paternity fraud is a train wreck for all concerned, except of course the woman who perpetrates it.
There is now and never has been any protection afforded by the law to men and children who are the victims of paternity fraud. We could easily pass laws requiring women to tell the truth about paternity and conduct genetic testing on every child immediately after birth. But we don’t. And we won’t. We therefore ensure that Richard Mason will not be the last man to suffer the soul-shattering discovery that children he’s loved, supported and raised aren’t his.