Divorce is a highly personal experience. Most people would prefer to keep details about their divorce within their circle of friends and family. In California, though, most court proceedings are maintained as a matter of public record. Divorce is no exception, but there may be things you can do to keep at least some of your divorce records private.
Documents filed under what’s called a ‘sealed cover’ are not accessible to the public. Family law documents that include the following information may be filed under a sealed cover:
- Healthcare records;
- Financial records;
- Identifying information about minors; and
- Information about the identity of a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
If your divorce papers include this type of information, consult with your attorney about ensuring the information is filed under sealed cover.
Motion or Application to Seal
Some documents containing embarrassing or highly personal information are not automatically filed under a sealed cover.
To have these records kept confidential, your attorney may file a motion to seal the record. The motion will be served on all parties. The court then may enter an order granting or denying the request. If granted, not only will the records be hidden from the public, but other parties generally will be prohibited from disclosing information they learn from sealed records.
The term ‘redaction’ means marking out sensitive information in a document. Information may be redacted from documents that are public record. Protected data includes social security numbers and financial account information. So, if you must provide information to the court or opposing counsel that includes your bank account numbers, for example, the account numbers can be redacted.
Learn More About Filing for Divorce
In general, you cannot keep all your divorce records private. However, your attorney may be able to get the court to seal records under certain circumstances.The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce proceedings. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), Roseville, and surrounding communities.