Divorce is a painful matter for separating couples. The process delves deep into relationships and why they did not, and would no longer, work out. This includes opening up about issues that are sensitive and sometimes even traumatic.
Understandably, some parties may not be comfortable having others read about their divorce case and wonder about its nature, whether it is public or private.
Court records are accessible to the public
Generally, records of cases that go through court proceedings, including divorces, are public information on the grounds of public policy. This practice allows public inspection and promotes transparency and court accountability.
When divorce records remain private
Public policy does not hinder divorcing parties’ right to privacy. There are instances wherein a portion or the entirety of a divorce case, depending on the court’s findings, remains private and inaccessible to the public. This usually happens under the following circumstances:
- Sealed records: Courts acknowledge that some information in divorces may be too personal and sensitive. This information usually involves cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse and mental illness. Hence, divorce parties can request the court to seal certain details and keep them off the public record.
- Private divorce settlements: Divorcing couples who decide to privately negotiate the terms of their separation enjoy the confidentiality of private settlements. The parties and their respective attorneys can structure the agreement in a way that would leave the divorce details as private as possible.
In these instances, parties play an active role in ensuring their divorce’s privacy.
Guarding your right to privacy
The thought of a stranger reading through the details of your divorce can add to the emotional distress you may already be feeling. One of the first instincts you may have is to find ways to protect your privacy. By reviewing the circumstances of your case and exploring suitable options, you can maintain the confidentiality of your case.