Can Divorce Filings Be Sealed?
There are numerous reasons why couples choose to ask family law courts to seal records pertaining to their divorce filings. While divorce proceedings are generally treated as matters of public record, information related to certain cases may be sealed by the judges presiding over these matters. It is important to understand that a simple plea of “privacy, please” is not generally enough to persuade a judge to seal the records of an individual case. However, other compelling reasons may provide compelling enough reasons for a judge to make an exception to the general public record rules.
If you are interested in pursuing a divorce process that remains sealed, please consider connecting with our firm. Once you schedule a consultation, we will be able to learn about the particulars of your situation and advise you in regards to whether sealing your divorce records may be an option in your case. Even if requesting sealed records is an action unlikely to succeed in your case, we may be able to find numerous creative solutions designed to better ensure your privacy during this time.
When Are Records Generally Sealed?
Most of the time, requests to seal divorce cases are granted in situations that involve minors and highly sensitive information. As the default option is allowing the public access to such records, it usually takes a fairly extraordinary set of circumstances to inspire a judge to seal divorce records. Protecting the identity and interests of minors affected by abuse is one example of a sufficiently compelling reason to grant a sealed records request.
In general, each judge asked to seal records is compelled to weigh the benefits of privacy in a specific case against the public’s interest in maintaining open records. One way to bridge the gap between these two interests is requesting that only certain portions of any specific divorce case remain sealed. That way, the public’s interest is honored while privacy is granted to those most immediately affected by particular aspects of a divorce case.
In addition to protecting minors for a number of reasons, courts will also generally act to protect Social Security and bank account information, business secrets and other sensitive financial information. Domestic violence victims may also generally ask for sealed records, depending on whether their abuse would otherwise serve as a matter of public record.
Divorce Assistance Is Available
If you have questions about the divorce process generally or divorce filings specifically, please consider scheduling a consultation with a law firm at your earliest convenience. Seeking experienced legal guidance early in the divorce process can significantly affect the ways in which your marital dissolution progresses. The sooner a Tampa, FL divorce lawyer can understand your circumstances, your goals and your general vision for your divorce, the sooner they can help advise you of your legal options and assist you in pursuing the kind of divorce that fits your needs. In addition, they are always happy to answer any questions you have about their approach to representation.
Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and sealing divorce proceedings.