When a couple is divorcing, privacy may not be their top priority. Issues such as property division and child custody often take center stage. However, the fact remains that divorce cases become part of the public record, accessible to anyone who has the time and motivation to go to the courthouse and peruse those records. That can be a concern to some Arizona residents who would prefer that their personal and financial matters be kept private.
In order to remove divorce files from the public record, spouses must ask the court to seal those records. Celebrities often take this step, as evidenced by the recent divorce between actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. However, sealing divorce records is an option that is available to all couples, not only those who are rich and famous.
The process differs from one state to the next, and it is important to prepare a clear and compelling argument to present to the court. Sealing court records placed an additional burden on the courts, which are often already overwhelmed with full dockets and heavy workloads. A couple must be able to present a clear set of reasons why such an action is necessary. Working with a family law attorney is the best way to move forward with such a request, as he or she will likely have experience in front of any given judge, and an idea of how to best present the request.
Arizona couples who are able to have their divorce records sealed can enjoy a higher degree of privacy than those who go a more traditional route. Sealed records allows the parties to rest assured that the details of their financial lives are left out of the public realm. That can be important to business owners, high net worth spouses and others. Sealed records also mean that children will not be able to access private information that may be brought up in the course of a divorce, such as issues of infidelity.
Source: CNBC, "How to divorce like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie", Jessica Dickler, Jan. 11, 2017