Skip to main content
(866) 465-5395 Schedule a Consultation (866) 465-5395 Schedule a Consultation

Private Divorce in Maryland: Can I Get a Private Divorce in Maryland?

| |

It’s hard enough to break up with someone you hoped to keep forever. When things escalate to going to court to annul the union, the last thing you want is that information to be accessible to strangers or people you wish to keep the details from.

Your first line of defense is letting your attorney know about the sensitivity of the divorce so they can advise you on how to keep it private. Our Petrelli Previtera attorneys walk with you from the beginning of the divorce process and offer solid advice on keeping your divorce details as confidential as possible.

Are Divorce Records Public in Maryland?

Yes. The United States court system considers making court records accessible to the public as part of ensuring transparency in the judicial process. This fact cuts both ways. On one hand, this information helps keep the legal system accountable. On the other hand, it exposes sensitive information, including divorce proceedings.

Divorce records available in Maryland include:

  • Verification of Divorce. Verification of Divorce is acceptable by some government agencies as proof of divorce or annulments. These forms contain the names of the divorced individuals, the date the divorce was granted, the county where the divorce took place, and the type of divorce action.
  • Decree of Divorce and Annulment of Marriage. This document is issued after a judge has delivered a divorce or annulment judgment. It proves that a marriage has been dissolved and contains detailed information about a divorce, including child custodial rights, spousal support, property use agreement, asset division, and other divorce conditions.
  • Divorce Case Files. These records include statements, motions, and other details generated from the start to the end of a divorce process.

However, the court preserves some details such as your social security number, alimony details, child custody, and bank information.

Can you Seal Divorce Records in Maryland?

You can keep your divorce records private by requesting a Maryland court to seal part or all of your divorce records. There are two ways to do it:

  • File a Motion to Seal or Otherwise Limit Inspection of a Case Record
  • File a Petition for Shielding Under the Maryland Second Chance Act

To have your request granted, you must prove that the harm you would experience from having them public outweighs the public’s right to find the information.

You stand a bigger chance of having your records sealed if your request is narrowly tailored –that means you only request to seal the information that protects your privacy and not the entire record.

Viable Reasons for Keeping Your Divorce Private

Typically, legitimate reasons to seal your records involve:

  • To protect the identity of children under the age of 18. Here, the judge may rule in favor of the minor’s right to privacy over the public’s right to the case records.
  • To protect victims of domestic violence. In this case, the judge may consider the victim’s safety and privacy more important than the public’s right to information.
  • To protect sensitive business information. Similarly, the court may grant your request to seal records that reveal proprietary business information such as finances, employee information, child support guidelines worksheets, Requests to waive court costs, etc.

However, you can’t seal entire records in Maryland because divorce involves public legal filings in Maryland’s civil courts.

Can you get a divorce without the other person signing in Maryland?

The law allows you to engage a mediator to facilitate discussions if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. If this method fails, you can file for a contested divorce. A contested divorce means that one person disagrees with some or all of the terms of the divorce –for example, disputes about alimony and child custody.

Depending on the issues, a contested divorce takes longer than an uncontested one –it could be twice as long. However, you can get a default judgment where the judge makes a default ruling in your favor if your spouse is uncooperative. A default judgment means the court proceeds with the divorce process without your spouse’s participation.

You’ll also have to prove that you’ve made efforts to have them sign the divorce paperwork, whether they responded or not.

How Can a Person Find Out if They are Divorced?

You can easily find divorce information by going through Maryland Case Search, the electronic system open to the public for finding and viewing some case files. The records are only meant for information and do not contain all the information in the original court file. Copies obtained from this site cannot serve as official copies.

The Division of Vital Records under the Maryland Department of Health verifies divorces and annulments that occurred on or after January 1, 1992. You can apply to have a certified record if you fall under the following categories:

  • A spouse named on the record
  • The representative of either spouse named on the record. A representative must show a letter signed by your spouse stating you have permission to obtain a copy of the Verification of Divorce. Also, the letter must be certified by a notary public.
  • An attorney representing either spouse who is also named on the record. Your attorney must prove that they’re representing you.

FAQs Common Privacy Concerns During Divorce

Which Information Can I Have Sealed?

A Maryland judge can grant you a request to seal your divorce records regarding the following information:

  • General financial statements
  • Joint statements regarding marital property
  • Parenting plans
  • Maryland parenting plan tools and worksheets
  • Statements of the parents concerning decision-making authority and parenting time
  • Information about insurance policies, retirement accounts, and similar information
  • Tax returns
  • Personal identification information and numbers
  • Financial account numbers
  • Medical reports and related account numbers

How Does the Court Seal My Information?

When a document has to be sealed, the court attaches the documents to a Notice of Restricted Information Form. This form notifies the Clerk of Court that the document attached is confidential and should be unavailable for public scrutiny. This form is also used for coding on the e-filing system.

How Petrelli Previtera Attorneys Help Seal Your Divorce Records?

Other than presenting compelling reasons to have your divorce records sealed, your request fairs better if you entrust it to experienced divorce attorneys. Petrelli Previtera attorneys are top-rated, award-winning family law attorneys.

Additionally, you get:

  • Tailored approach. We never apply a blanket approach to any case, even when they’re in the same category. We will listen to you, study your case, and then explain why we must take route A instead of B.
  • Empathetic, easy-to-understand communication. We leave the jargon for fellow attorneys and explain essential details of the case in simple terms.
  • Value for Time and Money. We work for results and ensure you get favorable results for every second and dime you invest in the process.

At Petrelli Previtera, the right way is the one that serves our clients best. We share your interest in letting the past stay in the past and use our legal expertise to make it happen. Schedule a consultation today and we’ll be more than willing to help!

Client Testimonials

They are amazing! I highly recommend anyone that is in need of assistance with child support hearings to seek out the expertise and experience of this law firm and staff! They handled my case quickly and I feel that my money was put to good use. Much appreciated! Nothing less than five stars!

Alana Deverson

I just want to say GREAT JOB! She is a no nonsense professional with years of experience that qualifies her as a skilled Family Law attorney. She is seasoned, sensitive, and most of all she cares. She made things easy for me. Definitely recommend!

Kimberly Colby

Overall I was pleased with the results of my divorce case. The entire Petrelli Previtera team truly cares about their clients. Luckily for me, I was paired up with an amazing team helping all the way. If you happen to work with this firm and with the lawyers you’ll be in great hands. It was such an excellent service and it was beyond I expected.

A Family Law Client Chevy Chase , MD

Serving Clients at the Following Locations

Bethesda4800 Hampden Lane, Suite 200 Bethesda MD 20814(301) 234-7409view details
Maryland5425 Wisconsin Ave Chevy Chase, MD 20815(301) 889-8085view details
schedule a consultation Today
Contact Us Fill out the form or call us today (866) 465-5395