The Volokh Conspiracy

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Joe Biden

Is Taking the Biden Name Not in a Child's Best Interests?

Hunter Biden's attorneys make a curious argument to oppose his daughter taking his name.


Throughout family law, courts tend to consider what outcomes or arrangements would be in "the best interests" of the child." Accordingly, when parents find themselves in court fighting over custody, child support, or other matters, arguments are typically framed in such terms, even if the parents are pursuing their own selfish interests.

With this as background, I found this New York Post report on recent filings in an ongoing court battle between President Biden's son, Hunter, and the mother of his daughter who was born out of wedlock, to be quite interesting. Apparently one issue between them is whether Biden's child should be allowed to bear the Biden name.

From the report:

Hunter Biden asked a judge to deny his 4-year-old daughter from taking his surname — claiming it's a lightning rod for criticism and would rob the child of a "peaceful existence."

The first son's request on Jan. 6 came amid an ongoing paternity case against him in Independence, Ark., where Biden is fighting to lower his child-support payments to baby mama Lunden Roberts for their love child, Navy Joan Roberts.

Roberts, 31, asked Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer on Dec. 27 to allow their daughter to take the Biden name, claiming it would benefit their daughter because it is "now synonymous with being well educated, successful, financially acute and politically powerful." . . .

[Hunter Biden's] lawyer fired off a motion the following week to ask the judge to deny Roberts' request, arguing that his daughter should decide for herself once "the disparagement of the Biden name is not at its height."

Hunter Biden had denied paternity of Navy Joan Roberts, until DNA testing demonstrated that he was Navy Joan's father. Lunden Roberts claims that allowing Navy Joan to take the Biden name would help "rectify" Hunter Biden's "neglect" of his daughter. Biden's attorneys claim Roberts' effort is "political warfare" against the Biden family, pointing to the fact that Lunden Roberts had previously sought to protect their daughter's privacy by redacting her name and identifying information from court filings.