Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Monday, March 18, 2019

Are New York Divorce Records Public?

Most couples do not want the details of their divorce made public for anyone to view, even if the divorce was amicable. However, information about divorces in New York is typically a matter of public record. One reason for making the details of a divorce action public record is because the decisions in some divorce actions may be the basis for arguments attorneys use in future cases, especially for cases that are appealed to a higher court. If you are concerned about the details of your case being available for anyone to read, you can talk to a New York family law lawyer about filing a motion to seal the records.

Why Would a Court Seal the Records of a Divorce Proceeding?

No one wants the personal details of their marriage and divorce readily available for public consumption. Likewise, making divorces public record also may result in information about a person’s property and net worth becoming public record if matters related to property division are litigated. Court orders, motions, affidavits, and other court documents might be available for view by other family members, friends, employers, and others.

However, a judge will not seal a divorce case simply because you do not want to share the private details of your divorce with the public. Being embarrassed about the details of your divorce action is not sufficient cause for sealing a divorce proceeding.

You may be able to convince a judge to seal your divorce records under certain circumstances. For example, cases in which allegations of child abuse are raised, a judge may agree to seal the records to protect the child. Judges may also seal court records if domestic violence was involved or if the identification of certain financial information could result in either party being harmed if the information was released to the public or used by certain parties. A New York divorce attorney can provide guidance and advice after reviewing the facts in your case.

Obtaining Copies of Divorce Decrees or Certificates of Divorce

Parties to a divorce action and parties with a court order may obtain a divorce certificate from the New York State Department of Health. A divorce certificate contains basic information about the case, including the names of the spouses and the date and place that the divorce was granted.

For individuals seeking detailed information about a divorce action, they would need to contact the County Clerk of Court in the county in which the divorce case was filed. In most cases, the individual must appear in person at the clerk’s office to inquire about a divorce case. Depending on the circumstances, a person may be able to review the case file in the clerk’s office or only view certain information in the file.

Contact a New York Divorce Attorney for More Information

Contemplating a divorce can be emotional for some individuals. If children are involved, matters related to custody and support can make the divorce case more difficult. Contact Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. to speak with a New York divorce lawyer today. Talking with a New York divorce attorney as quickly as possible can help you take the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your family as you go through the process of ending a marriage.

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