Blog

Protecting Personal Information in a New Jersey Divorce

 

The basic presumption in New Jersey is that Court records are open to the public. This means that anyone can go into a New Jersey courthouse and review a divorce file of a relative, friend, or even a stranger.

Before irreconcilable differences became a viable option as a cause of action for divorce, many litigants filed for divorce under extreme cruelty. They cited example after example of reasons, most of them unpleasant, as to why they sought a divorce. These filings are and were subject to review by any person without any basis or reason needed to do so.

After a recent amendment to our Court Rules, our Court Rules are even more relaxed now than before. There is a movement in New Jersey to have certain Court records and documents scanned and made available on the internet. In only a matter of time people will be able to do a Google search on their computer and find a divorce Complaint or other pleading or other divorce filings that they wish.

Most people are alarmed that such personal and private information is available for public consumption. I am here to tell you that it is available and open for public review. It happens every day and people are consuming and digesting personal information contained in a public Court file.

Information To Protect

As such, clients need to be careful and ensure that when providing documents to their attorneys that they delete or redact any of their personal information or identifiers. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Vehicle plate numbers
  • Insurance policy numbers
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card numbers

If these personal identifiers are not redacted, they may very well end up in the Court’s file, which is an open file and parts of it subject to public review. One day, you may also find them on the internet and available for a more global review.

Help Your Attorney

The Court mandates that attorneys file certain documents with the Court and requires that the attorney add personal identifiers. Make sure your attorney takes every effort to protect these identifiers so the public cannot gain access to them. The first line of defense, however, starts with the client. The client must be diligent in protecting their privacy and be careful in providing these documents to their attorney.

It makes financial sense for the client to redact these identifiers and not rely on the attorney. Attorneys bill by the hour. The redaction process, depending on the complexity of the case, can be time consuming and costly.

Work together with your attorney to comply with all Court Rules and New Jersey public policy requiring open Court records. Likewise, be vigilant to protect your personal identifiers and confidential information.

Please contact me at jlawrence@lawlawfirm.com if you have questions about this post or any other family law matter.

Back to Blog
SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

Blog
What Happens When an Ex-Spouse Breaks the Marital Settlement Agreement?

In 2020, it was estimated that 39% of marriages ended in divorce. If you are someone who went through divorce, you may be struggling with a spouse who fails to abide by your marital settlement agreement. They may fail to make payments for alimony, for example, or they may fail to pay their part of…

Read More
Blog
The Dangers of Being Too Nice in a Divorce

You Can Be Too Nice in a Divorce Ninety-five plus percent of all divorce cases will settle without a trial. However, that does not necessarily mean that each spouse ends up with a deal that gives them everything they want. There is such a thing as being too nice when you settle your case and…

Read More
Blog
How the Best Interests Test Works

The Best Interests of the Child Test in New Jersey The concept of best interests of the children actually comes from a United Nations Convention, and it’s applied in all states. Beyond that, many people don’t know what it means. Below is an explanation of the test and how it is used in New Jersey…

Read More
Blog
Are Divorces Actually Becoming More Civil Because of the Pandemic?

Is the Pandemic Changing the Way That People Divorce? Only about 2-3 % of divorce cases end up going to trial. However, even among the 92-98% that avoid a court hearing, there is often rancor and bitterness that plague the relationship between the spouses. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused at least some change that…

Read More
Blog
Main Dispute in a Divorce is Often Custody and Parenting Time
Custody and Parenting Time Often in a divorce, the main area in dispute is custody and parenting time of a child.  Litigants can spend months of their lives and thousands of dollars fighting over their child. There are two different types of custody - legal custody and residential custody.  With regard to legal custody, there... Read More
Blog
Important Factors to Consider When Planning for Post-Divorce Life Amid the Pandemic

Will COVID-19 Change Post-Divorce Finances? Under normal circumstances, soon-to-be ex-spouses need a roughly 30% increase in income, on average, to maintain the same standard of living they had before needing a divorce law firm. However, we are no longer under normal circumstances. The pandemic is further complicating financial pictures for individuals planning for their post-divorce…

Read More
Call Now ButtonCall Us