What Information About My Divorce Is Available To The Public?
Most family court records are available to the public and can be accessed at the local county clerk’s office or online. Divorce, which falls under the umbrella of family law is usually no different. There are, however, certain circumstances where divorce records can be kept private. For help determining whether it is possible for you to keep your own divorce records out of the public eye, consider reaching out to a Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer.
What Divorce-Related Information Will be Available to the Public?
Most divorces are a matter of public record, which means that the details of the proceedings can usually be seen by others. Some details, however, will automatically be redacted and will not be disclosed. This includes:
- Social Security Numbers;
- Bank account information and other specific financial details; and
- Information about a couple’s children.
This information, while important to a divorce, can, when in the wrong hands, enable identity theft and other criminal offenses. Individuals can also ask a judge to seal certain information, including mental health records and documentation related to child abuse. To learn more about the kinds of information that could be redacted from your own divorce records, call our office today.
Can My Entire Divorce Record be Sealed?
One way to keep your divorce records private is to ask the court to seal them. This, however, is only an option for those who can prove to a judge that a public divorce record would cause damage to the petitioner’s:
- Finances; or
When deciding whether a petitioner qualifies for sealing under this standard, judges may consider a number of factors, including:
- Whether the divorce has public significance;
- Whether one of the parties is a celebrity, holds a political position, or is otherwise in the public eye;
- Whether the couple will be harmed if the divorce is made public;
- Whether there are any other ways to protect the parties’ privacy;
- How much public interest the divorce will generate;
- Whether the legal documents involved in the divorce contain sensitive or proprietary information; and
- Whether disclosure could put the couple’s children at risk.
If, after assessing these factors, a judge decides that a couple’s privacy concerns outweigh Florida’s general policy of open records, then he or she can officially seal the record of the divorce, meaning that it cannot be accessed by the public at all. These sealing orders must, however, be made public and can be contested by non-parties at any time.
We are Here to Help with Your Divorce
Florida divorce laws, including the rules regarding when couples can seal their divorce records, are complex. Having an experienced Florida divorce attorney on your side can make all the difference to the success or failure of an attempt to protect your own privacy during divorce. A member of our legal team is standing by to address your divorce-related questions and concerns. Call experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to set up a free consultation.