WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and his estranged wife have reached a settlement agreement in their divorce, which has included allegations of infidelity and drug use.
A judge on Tuesday granted a joint request by Hunter Biden and Kathleen Buhle Biden to lift a stay imposed last month in their contested divorce case and schedule an uncontested divorce hearing, which is set for April 14.
In court documents, Kathleen Biden has accused Hunter Biden of squandering their money on drugs, alcohol, strip clubs and prostitutes.
Hunter Biden is now reported to be dating Hallie Biden, widow of his older brother, Beau Biden.
The judge denied a joint request to seal the marital settlement agreement, which the Bidens argued should be shielded from public view.
“There is information in the file and the parties’ marital settlement agreement that would be damaging and embarrassing to the parties and their families if it became public,” attorneys wrote in the motion to seal. “To protect the parties and, most importantly, the children, it is essential that the file in this case be sealed.”
Family Court Judge Craig Iscoe noted, however, that the couple has not specified what damages, other than embarrassment, they might face.
“Embarrassment, however, is not a basis for sealing the record of a public case, even where a party arguably faces more embarrassment than do the parties do here,” he wrote.
“Furthermore, sealing the court’s records now may not be effective in preventing the media from repeating their earlier reports about the parties’ then-public filings.”
If the settlement agreement is made part of the court record, Iscoe said, the court would redact sensitive information about the Bidens’ 16-year-old daughter, the youngest of their three children, as well as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, email addresses and similar information.
Court records indicate that Kathleen Biden asked her husband to leave the couple’s Washington, D.C., home on July 5, 2015, prompted by his actions on the night of July Fourth. The filing does not offer details.
The couple agreed to separate three months later because of what Kathleen Biden describes as irreconcilable differences, including drug use and infidelity.
Kathleen Biden filed for divorce in December.
Hunter Biden has denied that his conduct resulted in the separation.
Biden, an attorney and former lobbyist who works at an investment firm, was discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine.
In court papers, Kathleen Biden’s attorney described the couple’s outstanding debts as “shocking and overwhelming,” with maxed-out credit cards, double mortgages on two homes, and tax debt of more than $313,000.
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