Even in the best of situations, divorce is hard. If your divorce is high profile or involves details that you'd rather keep private, however, it can feel that much more difficult. Whatever makes your divorce fodder for the attention of the outside world, high-profile divorces can be especially arduous. If you are motivated to keep the details of your divorce confidential, there are things that you can do, and your most important first step should be to seek experienced legal counsel. (Click here to read more about the basics of divorce)
The Classification of Legal Documents in Texas
Legal documents in Texas are grouped into one of four specific categories:
These are documents that anyone can view.
These are documents that are restricted to viewing by the parties involved and by their attorneys of record.
These are documents that are both marked and filed as “sensitive” material.
These are documents that are sealed and that are not available for viewing.
Depending on what is going on with your divorce, you may have reason to keep certain information and documents as private as possible. This is best accomplished through the professional efforts of experienced legal counsel.
Texas Divorce: The Status Quo
Typically, Texas divorce records are open records, and this means that the general public has access to everything that you and/or your divorcing spouse file. The motivation behind this open-book policy is transparency; the Texas judiciary system aims for accountability and transparency. The fact remains, however, that some divorce documents are kept more private than others. (Is there a way to seal your divorce records? Click here to find out) If discretion is paramount when it comes to your divorce, you need the skilled services of an experienced Central Texas divorce attorney.
To restrict your divorce documents, it’s necessary to begin by designating (via markings at the top) each pleading as containing sensitive data. Such information can include birthdates, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and additional personal information. Flagging documents as such does not seal the documents, but it does keep them from being posted on the court’s website. The objective is to prevent individuals who are motivated to harm a party to divorce from obtaining any more information than must necessarily be made public. As such, typically only the final identifying digits of a person’s important numbers (social security number, bank account numbers, etc.) are provided.
There are some instances in which parties to a divorce have adequate legal reasons to keep the proceedings confidential. The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure outline when such a determination is appropriate. If the prevailing judge rules with you, you can keep your divorce documents sealed and confidential.
If Keeping Your Divorce Documents Private Is Important to You, You Need an Experienced Central Texas Divorce Attorney
If You have reason to keep your divorce documents private, all hope is not lost. Texas does have Rules of Procedure in place that can help you keep your divorce confidential. The dedicated legal team at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas understands your concerns, and we’re here to help. For more information, please contact or call us at (254) 220-4225.