Divorce Rules For Georgia
Divorce proceedings are a matter of public record in Georgia, as they are in other states, if you handle your divorce in court. Anyone can request to see your divorce records, generally by going through the Georgia Department of Public Health.
But what if you don’t want the record of your divorce to be public?
The problem is that as a matter of principle, all courtroom proceedings are in the public record – in Georgia as in everywhere else. And that includes divorce.
But there are a few steps you can take if you want to keep your records private.
Resolving Your Divorce Outside of Court
If you want to keep your divorce records private, one of the most straightforward ways to do that is to stay out of court.
There are other pathways to divorce than going before a judge. In fact, most divorces in Georgia are required to go through mediation before making it to court. And in mediation, your records are not made public.
Mediation is a dispute resolution process that’s designed to minimize contention. A third-party mediator will lead a discussion between you, your spouse, and your respective lawyers regarding how you’d like to divide your assets and settle other aspects of your divorce.
One myth about mediation is that it only works for couples who are already fairly amicable.
In reality, the process is designed to help spouses come to an agreement, even if you start off with major differences.
Mediation also has a number of advantages over going to court beyond privacy. One of the biggest is that you’re more in control of the outcome. While you’ll probably still have to compromise, you and your ex-spouse have final say on the terms.
When you go to court, you’ll have to abide by a judge’s decision—even if you disagree with it.
Having Your Records Sealed
Another option, although this isn’t available to everyone, is having your divorce records sealed.
When your records are sealed, that means they’re not available to the public. In the state of Georgia, you can get your court records sealed, but only under certain conditions.
One reason the court might agree to seal your records is if you (or your lawyer) can convince them that making them public would hurt your privacy and that this damage would outweigh the benefits of having court records accessible to the public.
Another reason the court might agree to seal your records is if they include proprietary business or personal information that the public should not have access to.
It’s possible you’ll be able to get your divorce records sealed, but it’s by no means a sure thing—and requires the help of a lawyer.
Call an Expert Divorce Lawyer in Cherokee County
Are you worried about your divorce records being public or any other matters relating to your divorce? If so, an expert family lawyer can advise you.
We’ve helped countless divorce clients in the Atlanta area we can help you. Call us at (770) 479-1500 for a free and confidential consultation today.
Amanda Speights is a co-founder and lead family law attorney at Speights Law, PC in Cherokee County. She is an experienced family law lawyer who handles an assortment of domestic cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, appeals and other types of litigation in the state of Georgia. To contact Amanda, please visit our contact page.