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.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Loading
SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

Blog
Steps to Take If Quarantining Is Straining Your Marriage

How to Make Sure Your Marriage Survives the COVID-19 Quarantine Marriage is rarely easy and requires spouses to work at it to ensure that the union thrives and survives. In the U.S., the average length of a marriage is approximately eight years, which means to remain together for a longer period of time a continual…

Read More
Blog
My husband left me and I don’t know where he is. Can I get a divorce?

My husband left me and I don’t know where he is. Can I get a divorce? This blog originally appeared on NJMoneyHelp for NJ.com by Karin Price Mueller on June 15, 2020. Q. My husband left me two years ago and I have no idea where he is. We own our house together and an…

Read More
Blog
COVID-19’s Impact on Family Law

I was recently quoted in a New Jersey Law Journal article about COVID-19’s impact on family law. The article is entitled, State Court Filings Drop 20% as Judges, Lawyers Cope with COVID-19 Disruptions. While the article discussed court filings statewide, my quotes focused on New Jersey’s Family Division. The article says that Family Division filings…

Read More
Blog
There is No Community Property in New Jersey

There is no community property in New Jersey. Said differently, the concept of community property is not a recognized legal concept in New Jersey divorce cases. In New Jersey, the division of property amid a divorce falls under principles of equitable distribution. All marital assets get equitably distributed in a New Jersey divorce. Among these…

Read More
Blog
Practicing Law During COVID-19

Jeralyn Lawrence, Founder and Managing Partner of Lawrence Law, took place in MyShingle.com’s interview series – Pandemic Law Practice: How 14 Solo & Small Firm Lawyers Are Serving Clients and Keeping the Wheels of Justice Turning. Click here to hear the interview. A couple of highlights from Lawrence’s interview regarding client issues Custody and parenting…

Read More
Blog
The Goal of Divorce

The main goal of divorce is to reach an agreement with your spouse. The terms of the agreement are memorialized, in writing, in a Marital Settlement agreement. This agreement is also known as a Property Settlement Agreement. A very high percentage, meaning almost all, divorce cases settle. In other words, a very small percentage of…

Read More
Call Now ButtonCall Us