More often than not divorce is messy. Especially when there are high value assets and businesses at stake. For high-profile couples, it can be extremely difficult to maintain trust among mutual friends, colleagues, and others who gain access to personal information once it becomes public record. This can negatively affect the operation of businesses, the emotional well-being of children who are involved, and other matters. For this reason, there are measures which a couple can mutually take to request that a court seal divorce records.
Courts possess the authority to order a complete divorce be filed under seal. This means that no documents filed in the case will become public record. Alternatively, it can also order that only certain portions containing sensitive information be filed under seal. The decision lies at the sole discretion of the judge who is presiding over a case.
For court records to be sealed, several things must happen. First, the party requesting the sealing of records must show that the damage which could be cause by open records would outweigh the public’s right to view them. Some examples of reasons for sealed records are to prevent children from being identified, protect sensitive personal information, protect a victim of domestic violence, or to protect proprietary information belonging to a business.
Courts are very leery of sealing entire cases, rather opting at times to seal only the records containing potentially harmful information. The party requesting the sealing must present a very defined, reasonable, and narrow request even for consideration by a judge.
Discuss a desire to have case records sealed with your divorce attorney prior to a court date. This will allow ample time to craft an effective request.