Learn how to protect your privacy in the event of a contested divorce. Call veteran New York divorce lawyer Heidi Opinsky today for more information.
If you’re considering getting a divorce or your spouse has served you with divorce papers, you may be wondering if your split will remain private or if your divorce will become public record. This largely depends on whether or not you go to trial or if you are able to resolve your divorce through mediation.
If your divorce is contested, you stand a much higher chance of being involved in litigation that would make your divorce public. Here’s what to know and how to get help from an experienced New York divorce attorney.
Your Divorce Is Public But the Documents Are Not
In New York, divorce pleadings, judicial findings, medical or financial records, and other pertinent documents are not made publicly available. They are automatically sealed and copies can only be obtained by one of the spouses involved or their attorney(s). Under state statute (New York Domestic Relations Law § 235), these documents are sealed for 100 years, which is essentially a person’s lifetime.
However, the fact that you divorced your spouse will be made public if you go to court. The court will list your name versus your spouse’s name on the docket, and they may choose to publish the final decision it makes on the initial divorce petition.
If you mediate your divorce though, there is no notification published by the court like there would be if your divorce were litigated. Legal separations are also private. You may also be able to have your lawyer request the divorce petition be listed as Anonymous vs. Anonymous, but the court may choose not to grant this.
Can Divorce Records Ever Be Released?
In some rare cases, New York may unseal or release divorce records if one of the spouses involved can show “good cause” for why they should become public record. To do so, the interested spouse must file a motion and show the court why making public these ordinarily heavily protected private records is necessary.
For example, divorce records may be released as evidence in a personal injury case or other civil tort if one spouse becomes the defendant in a negligence lawsuit. In this instance, a court would review the application for the release of records and determine if the interests of the third-party plaintiff warrant the release of a couple’s divorce records.
How to Protect Your Reputation In a New York Divorce
If you or your spouse are a high-profile person or otherwise require additional privacy, you may want to consider attempting to mediate your divorce rather than litigate it. Even if you have a high net worth and stand to gain substantially from a contested divorce, if your privacy is paramount, you may decide that it’s better to have a smaller divorce settlement in exchange for being able to keep any public records of your divorce from surfacing.
Call Veteran New York Divorce Lawyer Heidi E. Opinsky for a Consultation
If you’re getting divorced and are concerned about how it might impact your reputation – especially if you expect your divorce to become contested – it’s crucial that you meet with an experienced New York divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Heidi E. Opinsky is a veteran family lawyer who can help you navigate the difficult process of dissolving your marriage, whether or not you and your spouse agree or disagree on the various aspects of your split. Call now for a consultation to discuss details by dialing 203-653-3542.