With the clock ticking down to a court date in Arkansas, Hunter Biden this week reached a settlement in a paternity and child support lawsuit — “a very fair settlement, reached in good faith, that also protects both sides” — but the case isn’t over yet, an attorney for the child’s mother tells PEOPLE.
Clint Lancaster, who is representing Lunden Roberts in her suit against Biden over the young child they share, says that with a temporary settlement now reached, what remains is to obtain sufficient information about Biden’s finances to finalize child support.
To that end, Lancaster plans on deposing Biden in March as long as Biden complies with a court order to provide all of his relevant documents by March 1.
The next hearing in the case is set for mid-March.
Biden, the 49-year-old younger son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was first sued by Roberts in May in Independence County, Arkansas. Her lawyers have suggested in court filings that she brought suit against him only as a last resort — that he had at first acknowledged their child together and been supporting Roberts, but stopped in November 2018.
“We are in the public position because Hunter Biden did not resolve the case when he had the opportunity to do so, before the case ever became public,” Lancaster tells PEOPLE now.
Roberts, who is in her twenties and first met Hunter in the Washington, D.C. area, sued Hunter for paternity and child support.
While he denied her complaint, saying she and Roberts had not even had sex, a DNA test last fall confirmed he was actually the father.
According to Roberts’ suit, she and Biden were in a relationship and had a child in August 2018.
Lancaster, her attorney, says that while there have been periodic settlement discussions since the case began last summer, talks intensified about a week ago. Hunter had been ordered to appear in person in Independence County on Wednesday to defend himself from Roberts’ motions asking that he be held in contempt. Her lawyers said he had failed to provide all the necessary personal and financial documentation to settle child support, which he denied.
With the temporary settlement, Wednesday’s court hearing was canceled; and the judge said Hunter could avoid responding to the contempt allegations at the next hearing, in March, if he provided the required information to the court.
“The closer it gets to an actual court date, the more likely it is to settle,” Lancaster explains.
Still, he says, he remains somewhat befuddled by the way in which this case has been drawn out — with the tabloids dissecting it at every turn.
“That’s not common for a child support case to become this complex,” Lancaster told PEOPLE earlier this month. “It’s usually: Are you the child’s parent? Okay — how much are you going to pay for your kid? That’s not where we’re at. I can only speculate as to the reason why.”
“There’s a lot of different ways that a person could have approached the situation,” Lancaster said then. “Hunter Biden’s approach is not one of a great willingness to resolve these issues.”
The court documents in the suit outline the disputes between Hunter and Roberts, including Hunter’s concern that his personal and financial information could become public.
The two sides sharply disagreed on whether Hunter’s intransigence was a stalling tactic — verging on contempt — or a reflection of his caution after being the target of all manner of speculation, innuendo and insult.
A judge in the case previously ordered all financial information as well as the baby’s identity be kept secret. But Hunter had some reason to be guarded: In recent months, two unrelated parties have sought to legally “intervene” in the suit, making explosive and unproven allegations about Hunter in filings with the court, all of which have since been stricken.
Roberts’ suit was first filed on May 28, 2019, but did not become public for weeks, when it was covered by a local paper. International attention has since followed the case, with both Hunter and Roberts being dogged by the tabloids in different ways.
Lancaster declined to comment on what relationship Hunter has with Roberts and their child now, if any.
“She still wants to be a private person,” he says. “She’s a mom raising a kid. She doesn’t need well-wishers. She has turned down people who wanted to do GoFundMes to help pay for this or pay for anything. She’s turned down … interviews.”
In the order confirming paternity, the judge also granted Roberts primary custody of their child, who is now a toddler, with visitation for Hunter to be agreed upon by both parties at a later date.
Hunter has not publicly addressed the lawsuit. According to a profile in The New Yorker last year, he claimed he never had sex with Roberts.
A spokesman for him has not commented to PEOPLE on the suit. His attorney said he wouldn’t comment beyond what was publicly available in the court record.
Speaking with PEOPLE, Lancaster also pushed back on the idea that the case was advanced for political aims, given that Vice President Biden is seeking to challenge President Donald Trump in November’s election.
Lancaster acknowledges he’s personally conservative but says, as he has all along, that this suit is nothing more than what it appears.
“I represent a woman who needs child support,” he says. “And I’m a lawyer who’s going to get it for her, and that’s it.”