Judge Opens New Chapter in Woman's Life by Dispelling Dark Family Secret

6th May 2022 By

Dark secrets lurking in your family background are likely to cause you untold pain. As one case showed, however, bringing the truth to light in the safe environment of a family court can draw the sting and bring peace to you and future generations.

The case concerned a middle-aged woman who had, since her teens, lived with the knowledge that the man who was named as her father on her birth certificate – the putative father – was not in fact related to her. She was in truth the offspring of a passionate relationship between her Jewish Orthodox mother, who was then a teenager, and an Irish Catholic father.

When the mother became pregnant amidst the constrained social environment of the 1950s, she feared ostracism by her family and community. Faced with an agonising dilemma, she swiftly found and married the putative father, who agreed to declare his paternity on her child’s birth certificate. The daughter only discovered the truth when she was 15, shortly before the unhappy marriage of her mother and putative father ended in divorce.

The reality of her parentage was a source of great shame to her and became a dark secret that was never spoken about within the family. When she was in her 40s, however, she plucked up courage and tracked down her true father on the internet. He immediately acknowledged her as his daughter. He was immensely proud of her and his two other children had since embraced her as their sister. Since his death, his widow had also come to see her as part of her family.

Some years after the putative father’s death, the daughter launched proceedings with a view to putting the record straight. Her application was supported by her mother, her half-siblings and her father’s widow. Following a hearing, a family judge granted her a declaration of parentage by which the identity of her true father was formally recognised. The decision opened the way for her to seek amendment of her birth certificate accordingly.

Source: Concious

Latest News

What are the Tax Implications of Settling an Employment Tribunal Claim?

20th May, 2022 By

When paying money to settle Employment Tribunal (ET) proceedings, employers are not infrequently motivated by a desire to make what they perceive as a nuisance go away – but how should such payments be treated for tax purposes? The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) tackled that thorny issue in a guideline case. A senior bank employee was dismissed following a regulator's investigation into an aspect of the bank's business. She asserted that she had been made a scapegoat and thrown under a bus by a white male cartel at the bank. She...

Interpreting Wills That May Be Ambiguous – High Court Guidance

17th May, 2022 By

Even with the most careful drafting, there is always a risk that a will may be capable of bearing more than one meaning. In resolving a family inheritance dispute, the High Court considered the extent to which extraneous evidence of a will-maker's intentions can be used as an aid to interpretation of the words actually used. The case concerned a businessman who, by his will, bequeathed a life interest in his home to his wife if she survived him. In the event, she predeceased him. Following his death, an issue...

Overlooked Homeowners Fall Foul of Ambiguity in Planning Permission

12th May, 2022 By

Finding your way around the intricacies of the planning system without professional advice is, for most people, a near impossibility. The point was powerfully made by the case of a couple whose intimate living space was overlooked by a skylight fitted to a neighbouring property. The couple said that the top-floor bedroom, study and bathroom of their home was so badly overlooked by the skylight that they could only get undressed by hiding behind a bookcase. Their neighbour periodically installed a mannequin in the skylight, giving the impression that there...

Wife Sees Off Bankruptcy Trustees' Attempt to Sell Off Her Home

9th May, 2022 By

When people dispose of assets shortly before having themselves declared bankrupt, it is inevitable that eyebrows will often be raised. However, as a judge's ruling showed, it is one thing to allege an improper motive and quite another to prove it. The case concerned a businessman who transferred a 50 per cent share in his home to his wife about four months before he was made bankrupt on his own petition. His trustees in bankruptcy questioned the timing of the transaction. They argued that the transfer should be rescinded and...