The confirmation yesterday that two of my regular commentators here are officially “an item” was in my mind as I did my morning blog crawl and this story made its way onto my screen. It got me thinking about honesty within a marriage (or a relationship). Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that my friends have any honesty issues to contend with at all. It is just a simple case of one thing free associating with another.
Mrs Chapman, who denies deceiving her ex-husband, allegedly told Mr Webb in 2002 that he was not the girl’s father and filed for divorce the following year.
Mr Webb’s barrister, Nicholas Mostyn, QC, told the court it was not until 2004 – by which time the girl was 18 – that a DNA test confirmed that he was not the girl’s father.
Mr Mostyn argued the case raised ‘profound questions’ about a spouse’s ‘duty of candour’ to their partner. He told the court: ‘Honesty and good faith lie at the very heart of the contract of marriage.’
Describing 45-year-old Mrs Chapman as an ‘inveterate liar’, he claimed she had ‘a fixed and certain knowledge’ that Mr Webb was not the girl’s father.
Mr Mostyn said Mr Webb’s ‘sense of injustice’ meant he wanted to pursue his case to the House of Lords if necessary, but the Appeal Court judges denied him that opportunity yesterday.
They refused him permission to appeal against a Bournemouth County Court judge’s dismissal of his damages claim.
Who would not be most horribly hurt to discover that the girl that you had nurtured as your own was in fact another man’s daughter? To know that the very foundations of your marriage was a lie? It is no wonder that Mark Webb was so keen to pursue this matter to the highest court.
No amount of money is going to really fix this matter though is it? This really is a “no winner” game (except for the lawyers who will have their pound of flesh no matter what) so perhaps the judges were right to halt these proceedings now, before all participants in this matter are reduced to absolute penury.
The availability of DNA technology certainly makes paternity cases so much more decisive. You either are the biological parent or you are not. Since the beginning of time some women have been duping their husbands about the paternity of their children and the poor chaps so deceived have been unable to do a thing about it. Already we have cases that pertain to issues of child support for children that have not reached the age of majority and I don’t doubt that eventually a case like Mark Webb’s will succeed through the courts and it will create a very large precedent when it does. Taking on someone else’s child as your own is one thing when you know that you are doing However when you raise a child thinking it is your own, and she is not, well there is a world of pain and internal conflict there.
As to my friends? Well they are both people of high principles (although I disagree with much of their politics) and I hope that they make a good go it remembering that it is a partnership of the journey and not just a sharing of the destination that matters.
Update from the daughters perspective here