The Daily Telegraph, by Shelley Hadfield, October 08, 2011
A MOTHER has been ordered to repay child support to a man she claimed was her son's father after he discovered he cannot conceive.
For nine years the man believed the child was his after what he says was a "one-night stand". He told a court he believed the mother manipulated the situation.
The woman was ordered to repay the $3730 he paid.
The couple, who cannot be named, met on the internet in 2000 and had a rendezvous in 2001. They lived in different states. The woman claimed she believed he was the only man who could have been the father. He signed a statutory declaration stating he was the father so she could receive the family tax benefit. But the man discovered last year while trying to conceive a child with his new partner that he is "physiologically incapable of conceiving a child". Tests then excluded him as the father.
The woman told the Federal Magistrates Court she now recalls having had a one-night sexual encounter with another man. She told the court she suffered depression and stress from an earlier abusive relationship and her memory and thinking were unclear. She did not know the real father's identity.
In a judgment published this week, Federal Magistrate Stewart Brown said the mother had been negligent rather than deceitful.
"I think it unlikely that (she) would have forgotten her earlier liaison with the person she now concedes must be the (boy's) father," Mr Brown said. He said the woman had at best been lax and at worst disingenuous.
He ordered her to repay the man $15 a fortnight.