A husband has been awarded £40,000 damages after his wife tricked him into thinking her child was his following IVF treatment.
In a first-of-its-kind case at Central London County Court, the man had claimed that the baby boy was conceived with the use of sperm provided by a former boyfriend.
He said his wife dropped the 'bombshell' when the child, now nine, was five years old. But the wife told the court she always thought that the man knew that he was 'not necessarily' the little boy's father.
Judge Deborah Taylor was told that the man – a lecturer referred to as 'X' - was in his 60s and the woman – a businesswoman referred to as 'Y' - was in her 50s. They have now divorced.
The couple married in 2002 and in 2004 they travelled to a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, for IVF treatment and the husband had given a sample of his sperm.
A few months later the woman returned to the clinic without her husband, travelling instead with a former boyfriend.
Barrister Thomas Brudenell, who represented the husband, said during the later visit the woman was impregnated with her former boyfriend's sperm.
The baby boy was born in late 2005 and when he was around six months old the couple separated. Divorce proceedings began and their divorce was finalised in 2008.
Mr Brudenell said the man looked after the child when the woman was working and paid more than £80,000 in maintenance over the following few years.
In 2011 a dispute arose over the amount of contact he was having with the child - and the woman then told him that he was not the 'biological father', which was confirmed when he took a DNA test.
The woman told the judge that she had never told the man he was the father and said she had hidden nothing.
She told the judge that her ex-husband knew 'from the very first day' that she had been to the clinic with her ex-boyfriend.
The woman said there had been no deceit, no fraud and no misrepresentation - and said she was 'not guilty'.
Mr Brudenell told the court that the man wanted damages for 'distress and humiliation', damages to cover the amount he had paid in maintenance, and compensation for loss of earnings.
He said the man's work had suffered and his income dropped because he was 'shattered'.
Judge Taylor has heard that the couple's marriage was in difficulty around the time the woman had IVF treatment.
Mr Brudenell told the judge that they had drawn up an agreement under which he would not have the 'normal' financial responsibility for any child.
He said it seemed that the agreement had 'upset' the woman.
The wife had said of her husband: "He didn't want to go back (to the Spanish clinic).
"The only reason I took (my ex-boyfriend) was because my ex-husband gave me that document to sign."
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