When you go through a divorce in Washington State, you usually go and your spouse will face several personal issues. Each of you may have private reasons for ending your marriage. But, records of your divorce are expected to be available to the public.
In general, anyone can access, view, or copy a Washington state divorce record. If you and your spouse settle your divorce issues amicably, including child custody, asset division, and alimony, your divorce record may contain a lot of information. But, if you go through a contested divorce and had to fight each other for child custody and support, spousal support, and property division, several pieces of private information can be available to the public.
Thankfully, you can have your divorce court record sealed to limit the amount of private information that it contains. Make sure you speak with a divorce attorney to understand your privacy rights and options.
Your Options to Keep Your Divorce Issues from the Public
Settling your divorce issues before you go to court will keep them private. When you go to court, a court reporter will usually take a transcript of the hearing or deposition. As a court record, this transcript may be available to anyone to see. Apart from statements, court records during divorce hearings include evidence submitted such as a transcript of emails, phone calls, or text messages. Such information can be quite embarrassing and revealing if made available to the public.
Sealing Divorce Records
The court can seal some parts of your divorce or court matters. Generally, when a court record is sealed, the public won’t be able to access it. Those who wish to access it may need to obtain a court order.
A lot of court records that contain information concerning minor children are often sealed to protect their interests. Also, the court may seal records on cases that involve domestic violence. Generally, if you want to have your divorce court records sealed, you must articular particular reasons for closure. A family law attorney can help you if you want your records sealed.
To keep your divorce disputes private, you should try to handle them through mediation or privately. Also, you can have your divorce records sealed, so the public will not have access to it. In Washington State, copies of divorce certificates can be obtained from the Washington Department of Health, the court clerk’s office, and the Washington State Archives.