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Can I Get My Florida Divorce Records Sealed From The Public?

As you probably know, most court records are public. This includes divorce records. Because they are public, anyone can access them for any reason. In some cases, however, courts choose to seal a divorce record, meaning that it becomes private and no one can access it.

Not everyone can have their divorce records sealed. A court must have a reason to seal it - it will not be sealed just because you are embarrassed that it discloses you had an affair, for example. Some examples of reasons the court may deal a divorce record include if the divorce case involved child abuse or sexual abuse, or contains private business information.

By default, divorce records are public. If you want them to be sealed, normally one or both spouses must file a motion asking that they be sealed. The requesting spouse or spouses must normally show there’s a good reason to seal the records, or that the damage he or she will suffer if the records are made public outweighs the need to keep them public.

In some cases, courts will agree to seal the records, but only a portion of the records rather than the whole record. Courts may do this instead of sealing the whole record because normally they prefer not to seal records at all. For example, one spouse could ask that the portion of the record disclosing child abuse be sealed but the rest of the file be kept open.

In addition, in Florida, many judges are willing to waive the requirement that certain documents be filed, so they never become part of the record to begin with. For example, many judges do not require financial affidavits to be officially filed, so the parties are able to maintain some financial secrecy.

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