The divorce process can be something you would rather not share with the world. The divorce records could give strangers insight into your private issues and even expose your financial circumstances. Despite the sensitive nature of these proceedings, divorce records in Missouri are typically public.
There are some options that could limit public access to the details of your divorce. The courts have the power to seal records, and it is also possible to resolve divorce disputes without the need for litigation. The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC is here to help you evaluate your options and resolve your divorce as privately as possible.
Sealing Divorce Records In Missouri
The most direct way to limit access to the records of divorce proceedings is by having those records sealed from the public. While this act will not remove the records associated with your divorce case, it will prevent members of the public from accessing some or all of them without a court order allowing them to do so.
Sealing records might sound like an ideal way to protect your privacy during a divorce case, but there are a number of issues to consider. There is no guarantee that a court will agree to seal the records in your case, as there must be a reason for the judge to agree to do so.
Some judges will consider a request to seal the portion of divorce records that relate to a minor child under the age of 18. If the court determines it would be in the child’s best interests to have their records sealed, they are likely to do so. Often, minor children are referred to by only their initials in court documents as opposed to their full names.
A judge might also agree to seal divorce records in Missouri when allegations of domestic violence or stalking are involved. The court can also seal records on their own without a request from either party. Whether or not it is appropriate for the court to seal these records will depend on the reason for your request. If you cannot identify specific threats to your important values, the court may not agree to seal your divorce records.
Resolving Disputes Outside of the Court System in Missouri
It is possible to avoid the publication of the sensitive details of your divorce by working out these issues prior to filing your petition. In many cases, both parties could negotiate the important issues of child support, spousal support, or child custody before ever beginning the divorce process. This approach allows the parties to work out these issues without the eyes of the public on them.
Relying on Mediation
You could have options for protecting your privacy even if the divorce process has already begun. One of the best options for keeping divorce records out of the public eye is by relying on tools like mediation to resolve divorce disputes. In fact, many courts will require the parties to attempt mediation before a public trial is even an option.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It is typically used as a tool to avoid divorce litigation. This process involves both spouses sitting down with a third party—known as a mediator. The mediator works with both sides to help them reach an agreement on the issues that are in dispute.
From a privacy standpoint, mediation can be a good option. Trial proceedings might be public, but mediation is not. That means resolving disputes in mediation could keep some of the important details of your life out of the public eye.
Contact Our Law Firm To Seal Your Divorce Records In Missouri
It is understandable if you would prefer to keep the specifics of your divorce out of the public eye. The reality is that without taking steps to protect your privacy, many of the details of your divorce could ultimately be made public.
Our Attorney could help you protect your privacy as much as possible during the divorce process. This could involve negotiating prior to filing for divorce or even requesting that some of your records are sealed. To get started with this process, call the St. Louis Divorce and Mediation’s Attorneys to schedule your private initial consultation.