As more people divorce, more people are curious as to why records in Washington state are sealed. This is for their protection and for the protection of other family members. Not all can access washington state divorce record. Some states make divorce records open to the public, but Washington State does not.
Here are four reasons why divorce records are sealed in Washington State:
For the protection of children from random identification in divorce records
The state of Washington has particular guidelines in place to protect children during divorce proceedings. These guidelines only allow specific people, including attorneys, judges, parents, and other family members, to access the files.
When a divorce record is sealed, there are very specific regulations in place to protect the identity of the children from being exposed. This includes not allowing the names of children to be included in court filings, and not allowing judges to release information about children’s whereabouts.
For the protection of victims of domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence are often wary of sharing information about the abuse they have suffered in order to protect their children from being subjected to it. In other states, divorcing spouses will release sensitive information about each other, including financial records and medical records, that could lead to the discovery of the identity of a protected victim. Because the details of domestic violence cases in Washington State are sealed, there is no possibility that this information will be released under any circumstances.
To secure sensitive information like social security numbers and bank account numbers
The information that is included in divorce records is appropriate only for those who have a right to know it. Even the parties involved are limited in the information they can have access to. Sensitive financial and social security numbers are included in divorce records, but they are not easy to obtain when they are sealed.
For protecting proprietary business information
Businesses are very careful in Washington State to protect the identities of their business executives and owners. Because confidential information is at risk in divorce records, this exposes the company to theft and fraud and will negatively impact the company’s bottom line.
This does not mean that there are no grounds for violating the seal set in divorce records. States can decide to override these rules when it is deemed necessary. If you have questions or concerns about your spouse accessing your divorce records, you may want to consult with an attorney.