It’s a common thing for celebrities to have their divorce papers sealed. Just recently, former teen idol David Cassidy’s divorce from his wife of 24 years was finalized in sealed documents. Can ordinary folks like you and me have our record sealed?
Why Have Your Divorce Records Sealed?
In most instances – including divorces – court proceedings are considered public matters. There are a few exceptions, including identification of sexual abuse victims and children. Divorces are among the most personal things anyone will go through.
The causes of the divorce, division of assets and debts, child support and custody arrangements are all very personal components of the divorce. For many, the thought of having the divorce decree – and all of its contents – available for practically anyone to see is unnerving to say the least.
Steps for Sealing Your Divorce Papers in California
The prevailing justification for court records – even ones involving family law – being a matter of public record is so that transparency of the legal system is preserved. You can, however, have your documents sealed.
You’ll have to have the court’s approval but here’s how you can have your divorce records sealed:
- Either you or your former spouse must file a motion (application) for sealing the records along with a letter justifying the request (you’ll need to have the letter signed in front of a notary public)
- A copy of the motion must be provided to all who appeared in the divorce proceedings
- To file – or lodge – the request, you’ll need to provide it to the court in a secure method so that the confidentiality of the records are preserved. To do this, place the paper version of the request in an envelope and labeled as “CONDITIONALLY UNDER SEAL.”
- If the court agrees to seal the records, the clerk will replace the envelope label with one that reads “SEALED BY ORDER OF THE COURT ON (date).” The records will then be securely filed and separated from the public files on record.
- If the court denies the request, the envelope and the lodged request will be returned to the party who originally filed the request.
Men’s Legal Center in San Diego Can Help With Sealing Your Divorce Records
If you have concerns about details of your divorce being in the public arena, we can help you with that. Even if the court decides against sealing the records, you may still be able to redact certain sections.
We welcome your call to the Men’s Legal Center in San Diego at (619) 234-3838.