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Keeping a high asset divorce record private

Typically, family court proceedings are a matter of public record. This is true with most divorce cases and can be true with other matters of family law unless the identity of the minors or victims of sexual abuse must be protected. Especially for couples in a high asset divorce, the divorcing couple may ask the family court to keep their divorce proceedings private. This act is known as keeping records under seal. While it is not common for most divorce cases, filing divorce proceedings under seal is not completely unheard of.

No matter the sensitive nature of information discussed in divorce proceedings, generally speaking, a family court will not initiate the process to file divorce proceedings under seal. In order to have sensitive information filed under seal, divorcing couples must ask the judge for approval. At that point, it is at the judge's discretion to have a portion or all of the divorce proceedings filed under seal.

When determining if divorce proceedings should be filed under seal, a judge will consider the damage the sensitive information may impose on the divorcing couple. When a divorcing couple requests that their divorce proceedings be filed under seal, they must cite a reason for doing so. The most common reason cited is the protection of children or the victims of domestic abuse. In some cases, the desire to keep business information private will prompt couples to request that their divorce proceedings be filed under seal.

Typically, if the family court decides to seal a portion of a divorce proceeding, the approval will be narrowly tailored to cover only pertinent information. In rare cases, an entire divorce proceeding will be filed under seal. However, the approval to do so may be difficult and will hinge on the extreme sensitivity of the information discussed during the preceding. For divorcing couples that wish to have a portion of their divorce proceedings filed under seal, speaking to an experienced divorce attorney may help.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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