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 New Jersey Courts are Handling Litigation

COVID-19 Brings Changes to Litigation in New Jersey  The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life in New Jersey, and the courtroom and litigation processes are no exceptions. If you are considering a divorce, you may wonder how the pandemic might affect the scheduling and process of your case. Some of the changes that…

Read More
Blog
Changes to New Jersey Court Proceedings

COVID-19 Brings Changes to Litigation in New Jersey The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life in New Jersey, and the courtroom and litigation processes are no exceptions. If you are considering a divorce, you may wonder how the pandemic might affect the scheduling and process of your case. Some of the changes that…

Read More
Blog
The Causes of the Rising Gray Divorce Rate

Why Gray Divorces Are on the Rise While the overall divorce rate in the United States has fallen, the divorce rate among Americans ages 50 and older has doubled since 1995. Although some of this can be attributed to financial factors, there are a number of other reasons for the rise in what are called…

Read More
Blog
The Division of Retirement Assets in a New Jersey Divorce

How Retirement Accounts Are Divided in a Divorce By the time that many people reach the age of 55, they have a retirement account with a balance of more than $100,000. Some retirement accounts may be far larger. This can present complicated issues during the divorce process as assets must be equitably divided between the…

Read More
Blog
Your First Visit to Your Divorce Attorney

What Happens When You First Meet Your Divorce Attorney The majority of people who are facing the end of their marriage will want to have a lawyer’s assistance. A lawyer is your guide to the divorce process and your advocate who is there to counsel you and to fight on your behalf. Here is what…

Read More
Blog
Divorce Grounds in New Jersey

Legal Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey A little-known statistic is that New Jersey has some of the lowest divorce rates in the country, according to the 2019 American Community Survey performed by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, there are plenty of individuals in the state who are still thinking about ending their marriages. There…

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