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Divorce Records: Private or Public?


Are Divorce Records Public or Private in California?

After a divorce has been finalized, the court will then hand the divorce records over to the state. The state will then file the records as either public or private. In California, the default filing procedure for divorce records is to make them public.

Public divorce records mean that anyone can obtain a copy of the decree. California provides two kinds of certified copies – authorized and informational. Authorized copies are only for those listed on the certificate or for the defending attorney. Informational copies are not intended to establish identity.

Copies of divorce decrees in California are available from the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed. In some cases, every document filed during the divorce case will be included along with the final record of divorce.

How can I request that my records be sealed?

If you are uncomfortable with your personal information being available to the public, you may desire to pursue the process of having them sealed. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to seal divorce records in California.

In order to seal your divorce records, a court order is required. A court order will not be given simply because both you and your spouse agree to the sealing process. You are required to file an application with reasons that will justify your request.

If your application is accepted, the court will send a written order to the California Department of Public Health. From this point on, your divorce records will not be available to the public.

When you file your sealing request, the court will be more inclined to approve your application if the records include financial details or other private information that should not be disclosed.

It is important to retain the counsel of an experienced Orange County divorce lawyer before proceeding with your application. Our firm has been actively representing divorce cases for over 30 years and our seasoned lawyers can help you achieve sealed records. Call our firm for more information!

Gavel, pen, and divorce decree

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