Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Young Couple with Toddler Learn They Are Brother and Sister

Surprising story of a young couple suing a judge and psychologist after learning they are half-siblings:

A young Irish couple with a toddler have been left devastated after reportedly finding out they are, in fact, half brother and sister.

The pair, who grew up far apart and met two years ago, told Britain's The Mail on Sunday newspaper that DNA testing last month revealed they share the same father.

The young man, who is known only as "James", was unable to find out the truth about his family background because of secrecy surrounding Irish family law.

The couple, aged in their 20s, are now planning to undertake a landmark civil case against a judge and a child psychologist who were involved in James's case.

"When we found out that we were half-brother and half-sister, we were devastated," said James, who has decided to keep his family's identity a secret for the sake of their son.

The couple say they still plan to get married and have more children, despite being shocked and pained by the news.

Their decision to marry could present them with legal battles as their relationship is seen as illegal in the eyes of the law, the newspaper reported.

The couple said their decision to remain anonymous was due to fear of ridicule and even more so to protect their son, who they believe would be stigmatised by society and picked on at school.

That they met in the first place was a remarkable coincidence.

"We grew up in separate towns about 100 miles [160 kilometres] apart," said James, of Leinster.

The couple's father, who is known as "Tom", had unknowingly fathered James in a short-term relationship before he settled down with his current family.

Once he found out about James's birth about four years later he proceeded with a legal battle to gain access to his son, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The court ruled that James should have no knowledge of his real father or have any access to him.

The couple said they hoped speaking out would help others in similar situations.

Read the full story here.


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