Privacy And Divorce In Florida
In Florida, divorce records are available to the public, which means that to look at someone’s divorce decree, all a person needs to do is request a copy of the records from the court clerk in the county where the divorce was finalized. Many records can even be virtually requested online. Divorce records can include information related to a couple’s children, finances, criminal history, and more. Fortunately, there are a few ways that couples can keep their divorce proceedings more private.
Types of Divorce Records
There are a few different kinds of divorce records that can be requested, all of which differ based on the information they include. A divorce certificate, for instance, is the least detailed, as it includes information only about when the divorce was finalized and where it occurred. While official copies can only be requested by the parties involved, these documents can also often be viewed online. Divorce decrees, on the other hand, also include information about the court’s final judgment in a divorce case, including each party’s responsibilities in regards to alimony and child support, visitation schedules, and asset division. Divorce decrees can also be obtained via request from a court clerk. Finally, a divorce record is the most detailed official divorce-related document and includes details about the divorce, including filed evidence, court transcripts, testimonies, motions, and judgments. These records are accessible by the public.
Sealing Divorce Records
While information like bank account details and Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are automatically redacted from divorce records, a lot of other private information is still available to the public. This information could have repercussions for a party’s personal and professional reputation, so in some cases, it is possible to seal the records. Doing so, however, is challenging, as the petitioner will need to prove that the release of the records would be damaging because:
- One or both of the parties is a public or political figure;
- Either party or the child were victims of abuse;
- One of the parties suffers from a mental health issue or addiction; or
- The parties could be harmed by the release of specific information contained in the records.
If a court denies a request to seal a divorce record, the petitioner can still ask that specific information be redacted from the public documents.
Keeping Your Divorce Private
Couples can take other steps, besides attempting to seal a divorce record, to keep their divorce private. For instance, couples who use mediation to negotiate the terms of their divorce in an out-of-court setting will avoid the creation of an extensive court record that can then be accessed by the public. Furthermore, mediation sessions are completely confidential, so the parties can keep everything that was discussed totally private.
Do You Need Help Keeping Your Divorce Private?
To learn more about the steps you can take to ensure your privacy during the divorce process, call the Clearwater divorce lawyers at Cairns Law today. You can set up a meeting with a member of our legal team by calling 727-683-1472 or by sending us an online message.