For most people, privacy is of the utmost importance—especially in situations involving children. It is no surprise then that privacy is often one of divorcing couple's top areas of concern. If you’re considering or going through a divorce, it is essential to understand how you and your children's information is protected.
Divorce Records Are Public Records
In California, divorce records are public, which means they can be accessed by anyone. This includes all associated agreements, including child custody and support, alimony, and property division.
In California, the following information is typically available to the public:
- Names of the divorcing parties
- Date of divorce
- County where the couple filed for divorce
- General description of property division
- General description of ordered spousal support
- General description of ordered child custody and visitation arrangements
The general public can request to view divorce decrees. If you were involved in the divorce, as a party or an attorney for either party, you could request a copy of the divorce documents through Vital Records.
State Safeguards for Identifying Information
There are exceptions where divorce records are shielded to protect those involved. For example, the court may redact certain information to protect the children's privacy if the divorce involves minors. The court will also redact information such as Social Security numbers, contact information, and home addresses.
Redacting Information & Sealing Records
While information is available to the public, privacy rights are not waived simply because you are getting divorced. You can still take steps to protect your privacy, such as requesting that your address and other contact information be redacted from the public record. In California, you can also file a request to seal records. This form is available through the Superior Court in the county where your divorce was finalized.
Once the form is filed, a judge will review it and decide whether or not to grant your request. Records are sealed if there is a substantial reason why it would be harmful if the documents remain unsealed. In some cases, records might not be sealed, but information can be redacted for safety. If the records are sealed, access is limited, and the general public cannot request to view these records.
Talk to Our Pasadena Family Law Attorneys
A trusted family lawyer can help request that certain information—such as identifying information, information regarding your minor children, or information that would jeopardize your safety—be redacted or sealed from the general public for your protection. They can also help you understand which route would be best for your family law matter. If you are concerned about your privacy during your case, it is important to speak with an experienced Pasadena family law attorney. They can help you understand California's privacy laws for your family and create a plan to protect your identifying information.
Schedule a consultation by calling our firm at (626) 340-0955 today to learn more about how we can help you maintain your privacy in your family law matters.