Is It Possible that We Can We Keep Our Divorce Private?
Your divorce should be nobody else’s concern, yet sometimes our personal information becomes available to others. Celebrities aren’t the only ones who are uneasy about making their divorce public. Anyone who is going through dissolution of marriage may wonder, can we keep our divorce private?
Documents that are filed in the Family Court with respect to a dissolution action are presumptively public records in Arizona. This means that third parties can gain access to pleadings, motions, and orders on file with the Court. It is important not to include identifying information like dates of birth and social security numbers in court documents except where directed to do so by an attorney or by court staff. For example, Arizona has a “Sensitive Data Sheet” where such data is collected and used only by the Clerk of Court. This document is not a public record.
Maintain Proper Lines of Communication
It is critical that you communicate with your spouse only through proper, private, channels. If you make any decisions in a verbal discussion, follow it up with a confirmation email. Your attorney may request that you communicate only between lawyers. Remember that some of your emails or other forms of dialogue could be used against you in court, so make sure to remember that as you communicate with your spouse.
Be Careful With Online Posts
If you want to ensure your privacy during a divorce, resist the urge to use social media. If you must use it, do not provide any personal information about your marriage status. Do not discuss problems with the divorce or the other party . It is also best not to post photos of you or your children during this period of time. Even a seemingly harmless post could result in problems later in the divorce process.
Request Divorce Records to Be Sealed
Generally, divorce records are public records. However, in some circumstances it is possible to ask the judge to seal divorce records. The court will consider wishes to seal divorce documents based on the reasons. Courts do not routinely seal records or files but circumstances may warrant that they do. It is best to confer with an attorney to see if your circumstances may rise to the level where it is appropriate to have all or a part of your court file sealed.
Help From a Knowledgeable Attorney
When privacy is important, it is best to inform your divorce attorney at the start of the process. Your lawyer will take steps necessary to protect the important details of your divorce. Your wishes will be taken into consideration when making decisions regarding your case. Your attorney will also advise you of steps you should take to keep your information out of the hands of prying eyes.
Going through a divorce can be difficult and complicated. Count on the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to handle personal divorce matters. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Can We Keep Our Divorce Private, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.