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
How to Talk to Your Partner About a Prenuptial Agreement

When polled, 62% of divorce lawyers said they have seen an increase in the number of their clients seeking a prenuptial agreement. However, going from interest to actually having a signed agreement requires a great deal of talking and negotiation. Here is how you should raise the topic of a prenuptial agreement with your partner….

Read More
Blog
What Happens When a Spouse Says No to a Divorce?

While New Jersey has the lowest divorce rate in the country, it does not mean that divorces are easy in the state. Some spouses deliberately make it hard for the other spouse by saying no to everything divorce-related. However, New Jersey has laws to prevent one spouse from taking away the other’s right to get…

Read More
Blog
Preparing for Your Divorce Mediation Session

Up to 80% of divorce cases that go to mediation end successfully with agreements reached throughout the process. Nonetheless, you need to prepare extensively for this process if you want to be successful in resolving issues in your case. Here are some tips on how to ready yourself for mediation. Mediation Can Result in a…

Read More
Blog
How Debt Is Handled During a Divorce

Recent statistics show that the average American household carries roughly $67,000 in consumer debt. This can be a thorny problem when the couple is in the process of getting divorced with a variety of different possible outcomes. In New Jersey, you cannot simply assume that this debt will be divided exactly down the middle. The…

Read More
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

Disclaimer and information can be found here, including links to descriptions and selection methodologies. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Call Now ButtonCall Us