Many Arizona residents are aware of the recent divorce between southern governor Robert Bentley and his wife of 50 years. The case has made headlines across the nation, largely due to the fact that the divorce records pertaining to the matter have been sealed under a judge’s orders. While several media outlets are fighting that decision, many people are wondering if it is possible to have their own divorce records kept confidential.
In the case of a high profile couple, such as Governor Bentley and his wife, a court will sometimes grant a request to seal the file. This is done when an argument is made that the matter is a private one and that the public has no interest in the details of the case. Another argument that has been successful for other cases is that the details of a particular divorce case contain information that comprises a trade secret or are a matter of national security.
Celebrity couples are also sometimes allowed to have their divorce records sealed. A recent example lies in the divorce between country music stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Television personalities Kate and Jon Gosselin were also able to keep their divorce record out of the public eye.
For those of us in Arizona and elsewhere who do not live in the celebrity spotlight or hold political office, having divorce records sealed may be a more difficult battle. While there is no restriction that would keep a couple from asking the court to seal divorce records, there is little to guide such decisions. Such requests are taken on a case-by-case basis, and the success of any given request is due in large part to the sophistication of the legal reasoning presented to the judge.
Source: al.com, “Can you get your divorce records sealed like Gov. Bentley?“, Leada Gore, Sept. 10, 2015.