Divorce should be a private matter. The life you knew and had hoped would last forever is changing. In addition to the emotional implications of a divorce, there is a struggle to figure out where you fit in your extended family, amongst your friends, and in your community. In the thick of it all, you want privacy—not only for yourself, but for your children as well.
Is There a Right to Privacy?
Most civil court hearings are public—unless there is some public interest or existing law that entitles the parties to close the courtroom. In addition, the contents of a clerk’s legal file are generally considered public records. The exceptions to this rule are for cases or information that are sealed or are otherwise limited as permitted by law—examples being the address of a domestic violence victim, grand jury proceedings, juvenile cases, and termination of parental rights or adoption proceedings.
This means that most records from divorce-related lawsuits that are filed with North Carolina clerks are open to anyone interested, such as local media, family members, and nosy acquaintances. Because of the sensitivity of this information, and because most people don’t want others knowing their business, we frequently receive questions about whether there are methods of privacy protection.
Separation Agreements Offer a Discreet Solution
To legally end a marriage, a court must enter an order granting a couple an absolute divorce. The same is not true regarding some of the other issues that arise around a divorce including equitable distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support. In fact, these issues can be resolved privately between spouses through a separation agreement, which is a legally binding contract. These agreements keep the parties from exposure to public court hearings, from numerous embarrassing and reveling legal documents in the clerk’s file, and from a messy trial. An experienced family attorney can help you navigate this process to maximize your privacy protections.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law is a family law firm that helps clients navigate all forms of divorce and childcustody related issues. We understand that this is a turbulent and uncertain time for our clients and seek to give them the confidence that comes with having a respectful, responsive attorney. You deserve a chance to move in a new direction, and we want to help you. Our legal team serves Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or reach us online.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law