Outcome: Orders made
1 The ancillary matters before the High Court Judge included the division of matrimonial assets, maintenance for the Wife and Child, and custody and care and control of the Child. The Child, whose biological father was not the Husband, was born during parties’ marriage, and the Husband openly accepted the Child as a member of his family after the DNA results.
2 The High Court Judge declined to order the Husband to pay maintenance for the Wife and Child. On the issue of the division of matrimonial assets, adverse inference was drawn against the Wife as she did not provide full and frank disclosure of her assets. Custody and care and control of the Child was granted to the Wife.
3 In view of the Wife’s failure to disclose her assets and means and deliberate deception in an earlier maintenance application, her credibility was tarnished. The evidence indicated that she was able to support herself, hence no maintenance should be payable by the Husband to the Wife: at .
4 A child’s non-biological parent may be under a duty to maintain him or her, if the non-parent has accepted the child as a member of his or her family (see s 70(1) of the Women’s Charter). A non-parent’s duty to maintain a child accepted as a member of the family stems from his or her decision to voluntarily assume responsibility for the child; once such responsibility is assumed, the non-parent cannot thereafter change his or her mind and abandon the responsibility towards the child: at  and .
5 Under s 70(1) of the Women’s Charter, maintenance for the child should first be sought from the child’s biological parents. If the biological parents of the child fail to maintain the child, the courts may enforce the responsibility assumed by the non-parent to do so: at  and .
The full text of the decision can be found here.
This summary is provided to assist the public to have a better understanding of the Court’s judgment. It is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court. All numbers in bold font and square brackets refer to the corresponding paragraph numbers in the Court’s judgment.