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Limiting Public Information About Your Washington State Divorce

A washington state divorce record is available to the public. But some exceptions apply. It is important to speak with your divorce lawyer about the parts of your divorce file that the public can access and view and what you want to be sealed. 

Some kinds of divorce information are normally sealed including a document known as the Confidential Information Form. This document contains information on the parties such as their phone numbers, social security numbers, dates of births, and employers. Also, the sealed portion of a divorce file can include financial source documents and health care records.

What Can the Public See About Your Divorce?

Generally, the public can view the declarations and motions filed in your divorce case. These include the statements and your ex’s statements. The orders of the court regarding these matters are also available to the public. There is little that the court can do to keep those kinds of documents out of the public eye. 

Limiting the Exposure of Divorce Secrets

If you want some information regarding your divorce to be sealed from public view, consider settling your divorce out of court. Consider mediation, arbitration, or collaboration, so you can avoid court hearings and filing documents for such hearings that end up as public records. Also, your divorce settlement agreement can contain confidential information about you. But such information does not need to be included in the final divorce decree. You have this information placed in a separate contract without filing it in court.

Accessing Divorce Court Records

In Washington state, you can access your divorce court records online. Also, you can view or get copies of the record by visiting the court in which you filed your divorce. But, state law puts some divorce records confidential including confidential information forms, sealed health care or medical records, and financial source documents, as well as retirement plan orders, law enforcement information forms, vital statistic forms, and others. 

If you wish to access any of these restricted documents, you should go to the relevant court and file a Motion and Declaration to Access Records. The court will schedule a hearing on this motion and make a decision after.

Divorce proceedings vary by case and some are more complex than others. Issues can arise during these proceedings, but you can easily sort them out if you have a skilled divorce lawyer on your side. Your attorney should be able to explain your rights and responsibilities.