Filing for a divorce is stressful. There are a lot of steps involved, which means there are a lot of questions to ask. Have you asked this one: What information becomes public access and what is kept a secret during a divorce case?
This may be something you want more information on, so let’s talk about it.
Public vs. Private records
In most cases, it’s a safe bet to assume that your finalized divorce case will be made available as public records. Some records can be requested to stay ‘sealed,’ which means they can only be viewed with a legal court order. Here is the breakdown of what qualifies for each and how they are public or private:
- All public records filed with a public court or office are considered for public access. You can access all public records that went through the court system through PACER, which stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. There is a fee to get those records.
- Each part of the official case is made available to the public. This means some aspects that are not deemed official won’t be filed, like phone calls and emails to your lawyer.
- If a divorce case contains details about abuse, children, or an event has sensitive information that could lead to misinformation through the public, you can request that this information stay sealed from public record. This means no one in the public can view them, even for a certain cost. Someone would need to go through the courts to be able to view these.
How do you get your records sealed?
If you think your case should be sealed from public view, there are steps that need to be taken to make this official. Keep in mind, though, that the court may not deem it necessary to keep your records sealed.
The first step in this process includes filing a motion that outlines why you think your documents should remain private.
For more information on public vs. private records, call Bineham and Gillen today.