Can I ask a judge to seal my divorce records?

Can I ask a judge to seal my divorce records?

| Jun 22, 2020 | Divorce

It can be difficult to keep your divorce out of the media. Perhaps even more damaging than the general knowledge of your divorce is the information that could come out about you during the divorce itself. Divorces, like other court proceedings, become matters of public record unless you ask a judge to seal your divorce records.

FindLaw points out that in some divorce cases, a judge may agree to a request to seal divorce records. These requests generally involve some potential harm that may come about if the public gets hold of the information.

Sensitive information

Courts tend to seal divorce records if the information revealed can harm others, such as children or domestic violence victims. Your divorce case might not involve children, but you may have important business information that you do not want the media to learn about and dispense to the public. Courts may choose to seal divorce records if they could expose information like Social Security numbers, proprietary business information, and bank account information.

Embarrassing information

You may have some important information about yourself that you do not want the public to learn for fear that somebody may use it in a libelous way. Courts may decide to seal your records if disclosing the information results in harm to you, but they may not seal information that is embarrassing but not necessarily harmful. You will likely have to explain to a court the extent of harm you could suffer by revealing the information.

Partial sealing of records

You may have a better chance of convincing a judge to seal your records if you do not try to seal a large portion of your divorce case. Instead, you may request that the court only seal the needed information to guard your privacy or the privacy of your family. This could entail a court redacting divorce documents instead of sealing them entirely.

A judge may be more comfortable with this option since it preserves a greater measure of transparency. No matter how you decide to go about your seal request, being specific about why you want to do it may help your request. A judge might not agree to seal your information if you are too general about why you want the information sealed.

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