To many people, the most interesting news articles contain juicy bits about the marital woes of the rich and famous. But most divorces are highly personal and emotionally charged. Whether you are well-known in your local community or the international scene, you probably want to keep your high-profile divorce out of the tabloids. It may be possible, although difficult, to do so in California.
Accessing Typical Public Records
Often, legal documents that affect our lives become part of the public record. For example, when you pass away, your Will becomes a public document when it is filed for probate. In California, most court documents are available for viewing by the general public. This typically is true even for family law cases.
However, there might be a way for you to keep your divorce out of the tabloids and away from the prying eyes of your neighbors, family, and friends.
Records can be sealed by court order. A judge may order the entire file to be kept private or just portions of it. For example, the entire record in Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s 2015 high-profile divorce case was sealed.
However, courts generally do not seal records just because that’s what the divorcing couple want. In California, the couple must file an application
for an order sealing the divorce record. In addition, a memorandum and declaration stating why the records should be sealed is filed with the application.
The parties may file redacted documents, with all sensitive information covered so it cannot be read. However, the parties may be required to send certain parties unredacted records.
If the judge approves the application, records will be kept separate and marked to ensure limited access. In addition to sealing the records, court orders typically prohibit people associated with the divorce from disclosing information contained in the records.
You May Be Able to Keep a High-Profile Divorce Private
In limited cases, a couple may be able to file their divorce papers without putting their names on the public records. If privacy is a real issue in your impending divorce, talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.
Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger.
We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.