Paternity Suit Sparks Debate About Rights of Fathers

Filed under: Just For Dads, In The News

When Mark Webb found out that his daughter wasn't actually his -- biologically, that is -- he didn't just get mad. He decided to get even and sue for paternity fraud.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures, and in this case, desperate totals £100,000 (about $200,000) in damages. That doesn't account for the human damage, mostly for Elspeth Webb, now 22.

The couple had a difficult marriage, including affairs on both their parts. It's something they got past until, that is, his then-wife Lydia admitted that an old flame was the biological father of Elspeth. "She said, 'I've got something I need to tell you,'" Webb told the Daily Mail of that life-altering conversation. "'You're not the father of Elspeth.'"

For all the obvious reasons, Webb, 47, left home in 2003. "I had no idea that Elspeth might not be mine," said Webb. "I was stunned. People say my pride's been hurt, but it's beyond pride. I suppose my dignity has been damaged more than anything else."

Webb was forced to pay child support for the couple's two younger daughters, while Elspeth's biological dad agreed to pay her support at approximately $2,500 a month. "What I thought was, I've brought up three children and it now transpires I wasn't the father of one of them," said Webb. "I've got to pay for these two, so should [the biological dad] now have to repay the money I've spent bringing up his child?" Let's see what all the players think about that question.
Webb says yes. His ex-wife said no. The biological dad said no. And now, the courts said no, refusing him permission to appeal against the ruling.

Elspeth is no longer speaking to him. Webb said, "I loved Elspeth and I still do," and claimed that this isn't about the money. It's about all of the other men who could be victims of paternity fraud. He's like Batman for paternity.

Anytime someone says that they are fighting the good fight for "everyone else who is in my situation," I get very suspicious. He isn't Karen Silkwood or an Enron whistle-blower. This is a husband and father who is understandably very pissed off that wifey was being buggered by another bloke. Alright. But Webb seems to have decided that his "crusade" for the rights of fathers is more important than his relationship with his children, biological or not. And that can't be right.

What do you think? Is Mark Webb right to try to recoup his money and take his failed court case to an even higher authority -- the court of public opinion? Is he really being denied his rights?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.