Divorce and Privacy

High profile divorces, like Kim Kardashian’s divorce, sometimes garner a great of public attention.  However, privacy is sometimes a concern during a divorce.  From Rich, Famous Push for Secrecy in Divorce (USA Today):

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers surveyed 1,600 members last year and found that 90% had handled cases where records were sealed. Nearly 50% had been in courtrooms where part of the trial was closed.

While reporting the Welch divorce, TheConnecticut Law Tribune discovered that Connecticut courts had concealed for 38 years the existence of at least 200 divorce and paternity cases. Among those involved were Clarence Clemons, saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen’s band; rock guitarist Rick Derringer; and a University of Connecticut president, the Hartford Courant reported. Connecticut abolished the secret system in 2003.

New York state has the strictest law: Divorce records are sealed from public inspection, without exception, for 100 years. That’s how it should be, says Judith Poller, a lawyer with the Manhattan firm of Bryan Cave. “When there are broken hearts and betrayals, the instinct may be to use whatever ammunition you have. Much of what lawyers and courts do is to seal kids from the ugliness of the divorce.”

Most states take a case-by-case approach to divorce files, says Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She says Minnesota is typical: A judge will seal records if spouses jointly request it, but a news organization may get the records reopened by showing a “great public interest.”