Getting a divorce is a highly personal and demanding experience, and one that you no doubt want to keep private. Unfortunately, divorce proceedings are usually considered public matters, and are therefore published to the public court record. With that in mind, there may be some options for keeping the details of your divorce private. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our Massachusetts divorce attorney can help you to understand privacy options during a divorce. Reach out today to learn more.
What Divorce Records Are Public in Massachusetts?
When a couple gets divorced in Massachusetts, a divorce record will be created and parts of that divorce record may be considered public. Documents that comprise a divorce record typically include a divorce certificate, a divorce decree, and any and all documents that were filed during the divorce proceeding. With that being said, most states limit the records that are available to the public, as they could contain personal or sensitive information, such as financial information. In Massachusetts, anyone can access divorce records by conducting an online search; if documents aren’t available online, they can be accessed by phone or mail.
How to Keep Divorce Records Private
If you are worried about the records of your divorce becoming public information, you should talk to your lawyer about your options for privacy.
One option for keeping your divorce records private is to seal your divorce records. The court may agree to seal your divorce records—which means that while they would be available to the court, they would not be available to the public—if your case is particularly sensitive or serious. For example, if your case involves violence or involves children, the court may agree to seal your divorce records.
Another option is to settle your divorce outside of the court. While the court will be responsible for ultimately granting the divorce and issuing a divorce certificate—which will remain public—the details of your divorce can be resolved outside of the courtroom through mediation or collaborative divorce. Settling your divorce out of court is often the most convenient way to ensure that your private information doesn’t become part of the public record, and has numerous other advantages as well.
Talk to a Skilled Massachusetts Divorce Attorney
When you are thinking about divorce, knowing all of your options and understanding what happens during and after a divorce is important. If you are concerned about your privacy, divorce through mediation or a collaborative divorce may be your best option; another option is to request that your divorce records are sealed after your divorce is finalized.
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our Massachusetts divorce lawyer can answer all of your questions and represent your best interests throughout the process. To learn more, reach out to Attorney Heather M. Ward online or by phone at (617) 903-8955 today.