Mar 17

Confidentiality in Divorces

How to Keep Personal Information Private in a Divorce?

A very common concern in any family law or divorce case is a party’s desire to keep their address confidential. Domestic Relations Law § 254 speaks to these concerns. Section 1 of the statute provides:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in any proceeding for custody, divorce, separation or annulment, whether or not an order of protection or temporary order of protection is sought or has been sought in the past, the court may, upon its own motion or upon the motion of any party or the attorney for the child, authorize any party or the child to keep his or her address confidential from any adverse party or the child, as appropriate, in any pleadings or other papers submitted to the court, where the court finds that the disclosure of the address or other identifying information would pose an unreasonable risk to the health or safety of a party or the child. Pending such a finding, any address or other identifying information of the child or party seeking confidentiality shall be safeguarded and sealed in order to prevent its inadvertent or unauthorized use or disclosure.

Confidentiality can be requested by a party’s motion to the court and it be ordered regardless of whether an order of protection has been issued before. Evidence such as police reports, witness’ statements or photographs of injuries may be useful in proving the need for confidentiality.

Upon the granting of an order of confidentiality, the court designates either the clerk of the court or a “disinterested person” as the agent for service of the party seeking confidentiality.

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