Here in Fort Worth, recent reporting uncovered that public documents pertaining to some local high profile divorces are notably absent from digitally searchable public records databases. While different parties provide varying explanations for how this happened or whether these records were intentionally withheld from public view, they remain absent from the city’s digitally-searchable public records. The county contends that these records are simply misfiled or withheld for valid reasons.
It is possible that these absences are due to acceptable rates of human error, but there are also other important issues to consider. In general, county records are regularly pulled from online availability if some attorney involved in the case notes that certain collections of documents contain sensitive material.
While this is not the same as sealing the record, it does create barriers to access. Some parties believe that high profile individuals may have influenced the withholding of certain documents that should be public.
Similarly, the documents get filed as they are delivered. This means that an attorney may make information within the documents difficult to interpret or otherwise obfuscate information that should be public record. However, for a number of reasons, the public officials who accept and file the documents do not usually alter them or clarify the information within them
If you have concerns about your privacy during divorce, you should consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the legal options you have available. If you and your spouse both hope to prioritize privacy in your voice, there are a number of legal remedies the attorney can guide you through as you forge a strategy to achieve your divorce goals.
Source: Star-Telegram, “Some high-profile local divorce cases are hidden from the public. Why?,” Max B. Baker, Oct. 20, 2017