Family law matters are inherently personal. When a court case involves such an issue as custody, very personal and potentially damaging information can end up in the court record. This information can include medical records, mental health records, educational records and even statements made by the family members. In contested custody cases, there might be some extremely sensitive topics that parents understandably want to keep confidential. Preserving confidentiality in a custody case is possible, but it takes some careful forethought and planning.
By its very nature, the family law court is a public venue. In many family law cases, maintaining confidentiality requires keeping as much of the case outside the court as possible. To do this, parents have the option to participate in the Custody and Parenting Time Mediation Program. In contested custody cases, the judge will typically refer parents to the Program before allowing the case to proceed to trial. In mediation, both parents negotiate an agreement on custody and parenting time with the help of a mediator. If you can reach an agreement, you can submit it to the court, and a final hearing will be held. The negotiations are kept confidential, and only the final agreement needs to be presented to the court.
In cases where an agreement is not reached or where the parents are not referred to or do not want to participate in mediation, the parents’ attorneys can take steps to maximize the confidentiality of the custody proceedings. Records that contain personal information can be redacted or “sealed” to minimize the accessibility of the information. Attorneys can negotiate with each other to construct a final custody arrangement that both parents agree to without the need for a lot of back and forth in the courtroom. Likewise, they can work to settle the issue before going to trial.
Confidentiality is important, especially in custody cases. Preserving the confidentiality of sensitive and personal information in custody cases is important, but the court might not ensure complete confidentiality. If you are concerned about confidentiality in your custody case, you should speak with an attorney. An experienced New Jersey child custody attorney can explain the confidentiality procedures the court and all parties involved in the case must follow. When these procedures aren’t enough, an attorney might be able to take steps to keep more information confidential and out of the public record.
Are you involved in a contested custody case? The attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC understand how stressful your experience can be and will protect your best interests throughout your case. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation so you can work with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.