How Private Is My Divorce?
When Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise recently divorced, the media was desperate for information about the proceedings, the settlement and the allegations — the case was settled and the decree was sealed, so there was no public record available. The family was able to retain its privacy.
How private is divorce in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, all of the following items in a family law matter are public record:
- The complaint, amendments to the complaint, a substituted complaint or an amended complaint
- Orders of notice, appearances and officers' returns
- Military or other affidavits
- Cross complaints, third-party complaints and amendments
- Responsive pleadings
- Memorandum of decision
- Judgment file or notation of the entry of judgment and all modifications of judgment
- Executions issued and returned.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of personal and private information contained in these documents, which are available for public viewing. The court has the ability to seal some or all of the records in the case, protecting them from public view. It is up to the judge to decide which records to seal and for how long they should remain sealed. The judge must state the reason the case is being sealed, because of a recent scandal in which some high-profile cases were handled by a secret docketing system that violated state law.
How do I get records sealed?
Your attorney can ask the court to seal the court records, protecting the privacy of the parties and their children. Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin is committed to protecting your privacy. Call for an appointment to discuss your family law case.