Generally, Litigated Case Records are Public. However, this Ruling Does Not Apply to New York Divorce Cases
Did you know that 8.4% of New York residents go through a divorce? (1) Though this rate is significantly lower than its neighboring states, there are still an alarming number of New York couples who are choosing to end their marriage.
When the divorce is taken to court many couples worry about whether or not their divorce records are available to the public. This concern is valid because of the broad nature of litigation. Generally speaking, when any case is litigated, the court papers are accessible through the public record. However, in New York, both divorce cases and family cases remain confidential.
This means that once you go through a divorce, your records will not be accessible to anyone unless they obtain a court order for the records to be released.
The final divorce details and information are essentially sealed. The spouses and their lawyers still have access to the record, but aside from them, no one can access the records unless they obtain legal permission in accordance with the Domestic Relations Law (DRL) Section 235.
How Long Are Divorce Records Sealed in New York?
The good news is that not only are divorce records private in NY, but they also remain sealed for the next century. Only the applicant, respondent, and the lawyers on record can access the files otherwise. If another attorney is hired, then they will require a signed letter from either of the spouses and must submit this to the County Clerk for permission to access the records. This is a relief for many people because the last thing anyone wants is to have a detailed record of their private life available for just about anyone to access.
Are There Any Cases Where the Divorce Record is Made Public in New York?
Under certain special circumstances, the court may unseal a portion of the divorce records. One such case is if one of the spouses is going through another court litigation. When this happens, the court may unseal part of the divorce records so it can be used in the new case.
It is important to keep in mind that just because the divorce decree is sealed, it does not mean that it can not be searched. The name of the case will still be public unless your lawyer specifically requests that the names are kept confidential. Though the names may be visible, the information will still be inaccessible as long as the divorce took place in New York.
Connect with Heidi Opinsky, Experienced Divorce Lawyer in CT Today
Are you going through a divorce? If you are, you need the advice of a qualified divorce attorney to make sure your voice is heard. Many individuals going through divorce are not aware of their rights or the legal details of filing a divorce. This is highly disadvantageous to them and often leads to spouses giving up their legal rights without even knowing.
Get in touch with Heidi Opinsky, an experienced divorce lawyer, today to make sure your needs and wants are prioritized during your divorce case. Call 203-653-3542 now or visit our website to send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible