Judge approves temporary child support agreement in Biden paternity case

Updated: Jan. 27, 2020 at 8:24 PM CST
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - The judge presiding over the paternity and custody case involving Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden, has approved a temporary child support order in the case.

Hunter Biden and Lunden Roberts are currently in the middle of a child custody case involving Roberts' child. DNA testing determined with "scientific certainty" that Biden is the father.

The order filed Jan. 27 states that Biden will pay an undisclosed child-support sum every month beginning Feb. 1.

The order also said child support will be retroactive to Nov. 1, 2018, and that Biden will have to pay Roberts’ attorney’s fees and costs. Those payments must be paid no later than March 1, 2020.

A hearing for Jan. 29 has been removed from the docket, but the hearings scheduled for March 13 and May 13 remain on the docket.

In previous filings, Meyer issued an order Friday on the issue of paternity in the case.

“In reviewing the file, the Court has determined that the issue of paternity is no longer contested. Accordingly, this Court will issue an Order of Paternity,” Meyer said in the order.

On Jan. 7, a court order establishing paternity was filed saying Biden is the baby’s biological and legal father. It went on to say the Arkansas Department of Health shall issue a birth certificate indicating Biden as the father.

In another court order filed Jan. 7, it was established that Roberts has the primary and legal custody of the baby while Biden is the non-custodial parent.

New Push to Postpone

Shortly after Judge Meyer's order was signed, Biden's attorney filed a new motion with the court to postpone the Jan. 7 hearing to a date both parties can agree.

The move comes after the original judge in the case, Don McSpadden, recused himself on Dec. 31. In an email with Biden's attorney, McSpadden said the Jan. 7 court hearing is off the docket due to McSpadden stepping down.

That ultimately turned out not to be the case when Judge Meyer ordered the case would continue Jan. 7.

Biden's attorney argued that his client did not receive proper notice of 20 days, mandated under Arkansas law, for the hearing, especially given that Biden lives in California.

"The continuance is sought for good cause shown, and is not sought for the purpose of delay, or to cause prejudice to the Plaintiff, but rather, so that justice may be obtained by all parties,” Langdon wrote in the motion.

He did say that if the hearing were to continue Jan. 7, Biden would make his appearance via telephone.

Intense Focus on Financial Records

In previous motions, Biden’s attorneys argued that a Dec. 23 deposition in Little Rock, as well as the release of financial information, would be used to "annoy, embarrass or oppress" the defendant.

Before recusing himself, McSpadden issued an order that both Biden and Roberts must release their financial records from the past 5 years.

The judge warned both parties that he did not "want to have this drug out, nor do I want to have to drag out the monies these individuals may have received in any form or fashion.

In the Jan. 2 motion to schedule a new hearing date, Biden's attorney also mentioned a protective order regarding Biden's financial information.

The information "has been the subject of extraordinary amount of attention by media and non-interested, third parties,” the motion noted.

Hunter Biden was referenced in a July 26 phone between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. That call ultimately sparked hearings in Congress and the impeachment of President Trump.

Defense Attorneys Recuse

Judge McSpadden is not the first person to withdraw from this case.

On December 2, Biden's original attorneys said they would be stepping down from the case.

Dustin McDaniel, Bart Calhoun, and Jessica Duncan Johnston cited an "irreconcilable conflict," but did not specify what that conflict might be. McSpadden granted their request.

More Background on the Case

Roberts filed a petition for paternity and child support in May 2019 in Independence County Circuit Court against Biden.

In the petition, Roberts alleged Biden was the father, and that the child, born in August of 2018, was a result of their relationship. A court filing on Nov. 20 confirmed that allegation, noting “with scientific certainty that the defendant is the father of the plaintiff’s child.”

Biden's initial attorneys said there was not enough information to admit or deny the allegations made by Roberts.

However, a motion noted that information may change the issue.

"That DNA testing has established with scientific certainty that the defendant is the father of the plaintiff's child. That the defendant is not expected to challenge the results of the DNA test or the testing process," the motion from Lancaster and Lancaster noted. "That it is anticipated that this Court will enter an order of paternity finding the defendant to be the natural and legal father of the child who has, to date, only been identified in pleadings to the court as Baby Doe."

The motion also makes mention of Biden's father, Joe Biden, and the possibility of security protection.

"That Baby Doe's paternal grandfather, Joe Biden, is seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States of America (he has already filed for the March 2020 Arkansas primary). He is considered by some to be the person most likely to win his party's nomination and challenge President Trump on the ballot in 2020," the motion notes. "That members of the Biden family either are protected or eligible to be protected by the United States Secret Service as a direct result of Joe Biden's political status. That Baby Doe's paternity could put the child and those close to the child at risk of harm for the same reasons the Biden family is protected by the United States Secret Service."

The motion also seeks to protect the identity of the child, as well as public court records in the case.

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