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Can your Texas divorce records be sealed to protect your privacy?

Most Texans would likely prefer that court documents related to their divorce not be made public. They may contain very personal information that they'd prefer that no one see. Country music stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton seem to have lucked out, at least for the time being, in seeking to keep the details of their divorce out of the public eye. An Oklahoma judge has ordered that the couple's divorce records be sealed. The judge, who is on the verge of retirement, has faced considerable criticism for issuing the protective order.

Most people don't have TMZ and other media outlets seeking out the intimate details of their divorces. However, they may still have some privacy rights when it comes to keeping divorce records confidential.

In Texas, people can obtain marriage and divorce records through state and county sites for a small fee. However, that information is limited. All personal information about the parties is redacted from the documents before they are released. However, information about the divorce settlement, including things like child custody and alimony, may be included. Accusations of criminal activity made during the proceedings can also be made public.

There are situations in which all or a portion of a couple's divorce records may be sealed. A judge may agree to do this if both parties request it. Some of the most common reasons for sealing portions of divorce records include the following:

-- Protecting victims of domestic violence-- Protecting a company's proprietary information-- Protecting children's identities-- Preventing future false allegations

If you and/or your spouse wish to have any part of your divorce records sealed, you should talk with your Texas family law attorney. He or she will know what steps to take and how to present your request to the court to have the best chance of prevailing with that request.

Source: CourthouseDirect.com, "Are Marriage and Divorce Records Confidential?," accessed Aug. 06, 2015

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