I don't want the details of my divorce to be public. Is it possible to seal divorce filings? Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell answer your most frequently asked questions about divorce as they go over several key points:
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Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.
Hi. My name is Sydney Mitchell.Matthew Brickman:
Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the Mediate This! Podcast where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.Sydney Mitchell:
Welcome everybody to this episode of mediate. This I'm Sydney sitting here with Matthew and today we are going to be answering some of the questions that you, our listeners have been submitting to us about all things, divorce and mediation. So , um, let's just jump right in. If you do have a question in the future that you would love for us to dive into on an episode of mediate this, you can just send an email, submit your questions to email@example.com. It'll get sent directly to us and we'll , uh , hopefully be able to answer your questions here. This next question we have here is it's a, it's a short and sweet one. I think it's, it says I don't want the details of my divorce to be public. Is it possible to seal divorce filings?Matthew Brickman:
Yeah, nobody wants their divorced public, but sorry. They are. Uh, the only time that I have seen , um, uh, sealed divorce violins , um, I did do a divorce for a commissioner of west Palm beach. So being that they were a government type employee , um, I've also seen certain things, certain pieces, maybe not the entire agreement, but certain things that are sealed for law enforcement. Um, I did one for , uh, a DEA agent. Yeah. He's like, you're not putting his address and his telephone number and you know, certain things on his , uh, on his divorce because yeah, those, those, those have to be sealed for their own protection, but just like me, if I'm like, oh yeah, I want mine sealed. I don't want Sidney to find out. No. Um, now you had it's public record now. Not everything's public record when I say, yeah, it's public record, not everything. So for example, when I went to the courthouse many years later after I got divorced and had to go and pull my file because I needed to find a document of a previous filing or whatnot, even going and pulling my own file. They took out the notice of social security number, even though it's my own. They took out the notice of social security, you know, the sensitive, you know, identity documents, the one that has your driver's license number on it, the one that has your social security and date of birth and stuff, they will take those out, put them in a sealed envelope , um, and then put them back in or whatnot. That is never public record. Um, but also, you know, you know, I'm this, and yeah, this is a sort of a quick, short, easy little answer, but also one of the other things, just sort of the listeners understand , um, you know, we live in a world filled with not wonderful people. That's probably the best way to put it. Um, and so early, early on in my career , um, we used to put a lot of stuff in agreements that we simply do not put anymore , uh, because there was a particular case in the jurisdiction where I, where I worked primarily at the time. And so for example, you know, we used to list like, okay, you know, Sydney's getting the 50 inch flat screen TV. She's getting the, the bedroom set is she's getting off . We would , we would do lists for all of this stuff, right? The problem though is it's public record and there was a home invasion. So what happened was, you know, criminal sitting in family court that they , they know what days they, they conduct family court and they're sitting there just jotting down the names of the parties and they go, they walk around the corner of the clerk's office. They pull the documents and there's a list of all their wonderful stuff in their home and their address and where to go. And then they were doing home invasions. So I, now I know I tell people, look , do one of two things, either a work it out, just figure what you want to do with your stuff. Right? A lot of people can , um , or you're going to do , um , an itemized list, but it is a side agreement. And we referenced the side agreement. What we say in the , in the mediation agreement is, you know, the parties have divided up their personal belongings in a side agreement, but the side agreement never gets filed with the court. And that is a, that is a separately signed contract that is enforceable under contract law, but it's not filed. Or what we'll do is I'll tell people if there's, if , if you're not going to go through with a whole laundry list, but if there were a couple of things that you absolutely unequivocally want, that we'll talk about them in a very general sense, the bedroom set the TV, you know , in the living room, we don't say what size it is, you know, certain things like that to protect the people. We do that a lot with homes, you know, with, with, with , um , I did that just recently last week with , uh , with a home where , uh , they did a side agreement that said, okay, you know, in, in their mediation agreements that it'll be sold by licensed real estate agent in accordance with decide agreement. Okay, great. And the site agreement, is it named who the agent, was it named what the listing price was? And then it said that for every 30 days that the home does not sell, it will be reduced by a certain percentage and a certain percentage and a certain percentage. You would never want that public record. Because if somebody knew that the longer they held out on buying a home, the cheaper it's going to get, you would completely kill the market. Right. And so those types of things, we protect the individuals by side agreements because yeah, your divorce is public record. SoSydney Mitchell:
Great tip about how to keep, keep your information, you know , certain information conflicts .Matthew Brickman:
Yeah. Certain stuff can be confidential. Um, and it's usually the equitable distribution stuff. It's not the parenting plan. The child support the alimony. It's the, it's your stuff. And you know how to sell your home. Occasionally Sydney and I will be releasing Q & A bonus episodes where we will answer questions and give you a personal shout out.Sydney Mitchell:
If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org that's email@example.com and stay tuned to hear your shout out and have your question answered here on the show.Matthew Brickman:
For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my iChatMediation Virtual Platform built by Cisco Communications. Visit me online at www.iMediateInc.com. Call me at 561-262-9121, Toll-Free at 877-822-1479 or email me at MBrickman@iChatMediation.com.