In the best of situations, divorce is difficult. If you’re going through a high-profile divorce, it can be more difficult still. If your divorce may garner more attention than you’d like it to receive, you might feel motivated to keep the details related to your divorce confidential. If keeping the details of your divorce private is important to you, seek experienced legal counsel.
Texas Legal Documents
In Texas, legal documents are classified in one of four categories:
- Public documents that can be viewed by anyone
- Confidential documents that are restricted to the involved parties and the attorneys of record
- Restricted documents that are marked and filed as “sensitive”
- Sealed documents that are not available for viewing
Depending upon the circumstances of your divorce, you may want to implement specific parameters related to the availability of your legal documents. An experienced Texas divorce attorney will help you better understand your options and will strive to ensure that you obtain the level of privacy that you seek.
A Typical Texas Divorce
Most divorces in Texas have open records, which means that all the filings made by either party or by the court are accessible to the public. The impetus behind this availability is to ensure that the judiciary system remains accountable to the citizens it serves. Nevertheless, there are instances when discretion is key.
To have your divorce documents restricted, you’ll begin by marking the top of each pleading with a notice that the document contains data that’s sensitive:
- Social Security numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Other personal information
While flagging such documents as sensitive information will not completely seal them, it will keep them from being posted on the appropriate court’s website. If someone is motivated to harm a party to a divorce, the final divorce decree could allow that person ample ammunition to carry out that harm. As such, a common objective is to not provide any more information than is absolutely necessary, which includes using only the last several identifying digits of Social Security numbers, bank account information, and more.
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
In the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 76(a), the rules related to sealing court records are codified. There are some instances when parties to a lawsuit, such as a divorce, have adequate reason to render the proceedings confidential. The court determines whether a request for confidentiality is appropriate or not. If the judge so rules, your divorce documents can remain sealed and confidential.
If You’re Motivated to Keep the Details of Your Divorce Confidential, You Need an Experienced Katy, Texas, Divorce Lawyer
Every divorce is personal to the parties involved, and while no one relishes the thought of a divorce’s details coming into the public eye, there’s often no reason to worry about such details. If your divorce is, on the other hand, high-profile or extremely sensitive, confidentiality may be a high priority. Attorney Frank J. Vendt at The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., in Katy, Texas, has the experience, skill, and discretion to help you maintain the level of privacy that the law allows. Please schedule an appointment today by contacting or calling our office at (832) 276-9474.