Divorce is one of the most painful experiences that anyone can go through. The unpleasant task of discussing such private issues as finances, personal behavior around your family and details that are even more intimate can be very stressful.
In the U.S., however, the court proceedings are a matter of public record. The idea is that by keeping court records public, our legal system is constantly being held accountable. You will need a compelling reason for your records to be suppressed; if you can't provide one, your nosy neighbor, the local newspaper, and anyone else can all have access to the details.
What does it mean to file divorce records under seal?
As mentioned, there needs to be a good reason for the courts to allow the records to be sealed. If it happens, only the parties in the case, their attorneys and the court itself can have access to the case file.
Common reasons for sealing the file
Each divorce involves its own unique set of circumstances, and different judges have their own approach to interpreting the law. Common circumstances for having the record sealed include the following:
- Protecting a victim of abuse's identity
- Protecting the identity of the children
- Protecting sensitive personal information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers
- Protecting details of one's business dealings and intellectual property
- Protecting the interests of public figures
- Protecting the interests of people of high net worth
- Protecting the interests and office of elected officials
Happily, Texas is generally open to accepting these issues as a reason for sealing the file. You can draft a motion to seal the file or motion for non-disclosure if you want the court to seal your divorce. You can also stipulate that certain details can be sealed, particularly as they pertain to the above circumstances. An experienced Board-certified Family Law expert divorce attorney can walk you through the process and handle many of the details.