Related to a celebrity? Your divorce could be very public

words Family Affair in bulls eye

Being the sibling or child of a famous politician cannot be easy. The attention your famous relative receives also places you under exceptional scrutiny, as the Hunter Biden divorce case shows. Director Rita Gupta explains more.

Hunter Biden is the son of Joe Biden, the former Vice President of the USA who served alongside Barack Obama from 2009-2017. When Hunter and his wife Kathleen filed for divorce back in December 2016, his father was already making way for a new Vice President. Biden Senior was, if you like, old news. So was the divorce, as his son and daughter in law had already been estranged for a year.
Yet, when the case came to court and the couple agreed to a settlement, the judge refused their request to have the settlement sealed “to avoid embarrassment”, as most of the more lurid details had already been put into the public domain.

Public knowledge and private details

In the USA, a filing for divorce becomes public once it is submitted. In the Biden divorce case brought by Kathleen, she claimed that her husband “had created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interest (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs and gifts for women with whom he had sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.”

She also claimed that Hunter Biden held a diamond worth $80,000, a claim that he first denied and then admitted to have handed back to the "entity that gave it to him.”

This is this kind of detail that the media laps up, as illustrated by the fact that it took me just a few moments online to discover them and see scans of the actual divorce papers in a UK national newspaper article.


The child in the middle

Needless to say, as is so often the case, there is a child stuck in the middle of this case. The couple have three daughters, aged 23, 18 and 16. It is the youngest girl, Maisie, who remained in the family home with her mother, and for whom Kathleen is seeking sole custody. Her father Hunter is disputing this, looking for joint custody.

At LGFL, we always put the interest of your children first in divorce cases. We ensure that any settlement protects their futures as well as your own, and work tirelessly to minimise the financial and logistical impact of parents living apart. If you are concerned about the impact of divorce on your family, come and talk to us first. Our quiet and relaxing offices in the Berkshire countryside ensure your meeting is discreet and confidential. Call us on 01189 735521.


Embarrassment is not enough

For the Biden household, the sealing of their settlement details seems to be an issue of limiting embarrassment. However, as Family Court Judge Craig Iscoe said;

“Embarrassment… is not a basis for sealing the record of a public case, even where a party arguably faces more embarrassment than do the parties here.”

There is arguably more embarrassment to come, which no court can rule over. Hunter’s brother Beau Biden died in May 2015, and his marriage broke up shortly afterwards. Now Hunter is dating his late brother’s widow, Hallie, apparently with the blessing of father Joe. So, expect to see and hear more on this Dynasty-style family saga…