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16
November

How Safe Is Your Personal Information in Michigan Divorce?

By Jeffrey M. Salassa

lock and password phrases on the computer of a Clinton Township divorce attorney

Keeping your personal information private and protected is extremely important. With digital security breaches and cases of identity theft happening at an alarming rate, people are becoming increasingly concerned about keeping their private information safeguarded from those who would do them harm. The same can be said when it comes to divorce. While a divorcing couple may not necessarily be worried about someone stealing their personal information or identity to harm them financially, divorce filings often contain highly sensitive details about a person’s life which they would like to keep private.

However, a recent divorce and child custody case in Oakland County has highlighted an unfortunate loophole in Michigan’s privacy laws as they pertain to Court filings. Pursuant to current State law, court files are deemed a public record, which means that once a case has been initiated, any documents filed with the Court can be purchased or viewed by the general public. Thus, conceivably, a person could find out that their spouse has filed for divorce because a lawyer who is searching for business sends them a solicitation letter offering their legal services. This lack of protection has been brought to light due to the aforementioned ongoing Oakland County custody battle for three children, which has made public some very private information about these children and their parents.

Divorce battles can be very difficult for all involved. However, when personal and sensitive information is detailed in a Court document which is available to the general public, significant damage can be done to the reputation and psyche of those involved, including the children of a divorcing couple who may discover things about their parents which they should not. Children of a couple going through a divorce already have enough to deal with and should not have to worry about their families private matters becoming public.

Hopefully the Oakland County case mentioned above will help to spur lawmakers to implement some kind of safeguards to ensure privacy protection for families who are going through divorce, especially in cases involving children. If you need assistance with divorce in Michigan, or any other family law matter, please contact the Law Office of Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. You can reach us online or by calling us at 586-263-1600.

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