Why would a person want a private divorce? Someone may feel like their financial or career future is in jeopardy because of the end of a marriage. More acutely, someone may feel unsafe in a relationship or a community because of a marriage or its impending end. Either way, it’s a relatively simple matter to hide a divorce away in records, although it’s not necessarily easy for people who want that option.
Divorce proceedings, much like other legal activities, are public by their nature. Background checks and other inquiries can turn up records of the beginnings and ends of marriages. The exception is caused by a judge sealing records, generally by a petitioner’s specific request based on a need for privacy.
A recent complication in a sealed records case is drawing attention to this practice. A family court judge in Kenton County filed for divorce in a different Kentucky county and requested that the presiding judge seal the record. This caused backlash because judges are often expected to set an example for transparency while they are officers of the court.
The record was later unsealed with the exception of a portion of an affidavit and a letter from the judge’s ex-husband. The judge also expressed regret at the original decision and mentioned she would not have requested the seal if she had known the entire proceeding would be covered.
People concerned about privacy in a divorce may ask for a record to be sealed as well. An attorney can help advise on how to make this request and represent a client’s interests in the Kentucky court managing their petition.