How a Contested Divorce May Affect Your Privacy
Kenya Moore of Real Housewives of Atlanta fame is going back to court. Moore, who separated from her husband Marc Daly in 2019 two years after they were married, is now being accused by Daly of refusing to turn over required information, further delaying their divorce case.
While Daly is asking Moore to pay authorized charges because of this, Moore denies that she is withholding information and has countered with charges of her own. Moore has also requested that court filings in the matter be sealed. Her attorney has argued that Moore wants to protect her otherwise very public life from that public. And in a contested divorce, there is the tricky matter of public record.
While this is obviously a high-profile divorce scenario, it exemplifies one of the issues with privacy in contested divorces in general and why many everyday couples choose to pursue uncontested divorces now.
Privacy and Divorce Litigation
A contested divorce is a civil litigation, and in litigation cases, filings are a matter of public record. In matrimonial cases in New York, under Domestic Relations Law Section 235, specific records remain confidential and can only be accessed with a court order. But there are instances when the court may unseal records in specific circumstances.
Almost every divorce record will contain some amount of personal information. While many state courts only allow copies of records to those parties involved and their attorneys, others may more broadly allow access to certain documents. In New York, the final divorce decree is sealed with only those involved in the divorce and their attorneys able to gain access to it. But if a court issues decisions in the case, or it moves on to the appellate court, decisions and opinions can be published.
Public Record Will Usually Have Some Amount of Personal Information
While in New York we have very strict privacy laws, unfortunately, in any matter of public record, contested divorces will have some information that can be accessed. A simple Google search can come up with some records disclosing a certain amount of personal information. Consequently, couples who are concerned with personal privacy in a divorce proceeding may want to consider other means before they head to court.
For couples concerned about the public nature of a contested divorce, there are ways to work together to settle matters out of court. This can be done in different ways, including no-fault divorce, mediation, and negotiation between parties and their attorneys through collaborative efforts. If things can’t be addressed in a way that works for both parties, then a contested divorce can be pursued. A skilled New York divorce attorney will strive to keep a client’s private information out of the public eye as much as possible, but sometimes it is impossible to guarantee.
Divorce is complicated and can have many consequences for the client and their family. Getting the best possible representation ensures that the matter is handled properly and professionally. If you are currently navigating or considering a divorce, the New York divorce attorneys can help you understand your legal options and their benefits and pitfalls.
Contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.