Unlike courts in the United Kingdom, a court in Spain has ruled that a husband may sue his wife for conceiving children by another man and then concealing the fact of their paternity from him. In short, Spain disapproves of paternity fraud; the UK does not.
In this case, the man apparently suspected his wife of infidelity for years, but only discovered proof that three of the four children he had been raising were not his own, some 14 years into the marriage. The trial court initially awarded damages of 100,000 Euros; an appellate court upped that to 200,000 Euros.
I’m the furthest thing from an authority on Spanish law, but this ruling suggests to me that the court found that the wife had a duty to disclose the true paternity of the children to her husband. In other words, it looks to me like Spanish law requires women to tell their husbands the truth about who fathers their children. That is not true in the UK as I discussed in “In the UK You Can’t Sue for Paternity Fraud.”
In the United States, that issue of law will be decided on a state-by-state basis. In Georgia, at least, one court has ordered the repayment of child support by the wife to the ex-husband in a case of paternity fraud (See my post, “Proof of Miracles”). Whether that court ruled that she had a duty to disclose paternity, I don’t know. An analysis of state laws and court decisions on the matter would make an interesting law review article.
It’s instructive to compare the British and Spanish cases. In Spain, the wife committed an obvious civil wrong and the courts provided the wronged party, the husband, a civil remedy. That seems to make basic sense. In the UK, the same civil wrong was done, but the courts managed to determine that, in some way, it was just a “misfortune” which they would let stand unremedied and unpunished.
The Spanish man’s wife argued that her husband had been “cold, unfaithful and disinterested (sic) in the children.” It seems that, in Spain at least, that’s not enough to justify paternity fraud.