Understand What Public Record Means
Family law cases in Oklahoma are considered civil matters. While criminal cases enjoy a certain degree of privacy protection in sensitive matters, very few family law cases are sealed. Most family law cases are a matter of public record.
That means the public can access most anything that is filed in a family law case. It also means that anything that is transcribed during a hearing or trial will be part of the record. The most acrimonious allegations, evidence, and testimony will likely be available to anyone who wants to see it.
Exceptions to Family Law Cases in the Public Record
Oklahoma law does provide limited privacy protection for some cases. In these cases, the records are sealed. There is usually a public policy reason for these exceptions. Privacy protections are extended in these more sensitive cases.
Adoptions are almost always sealed. These are referred to as “closed” adoptions. These adoptions are sealed in order to allow the child and adoptive parents to begin a new life free of the imposition of the birth parents. Getting these records unsealed can usually only be done if the birth parents consent or with a court order. Getting a court order can be difficult and should be done with the help of an experienced Wagoner family law attorney.
Likewise, guardianship proceedings are sealed. Many guardianship and conservatorship proceedings concern incapacitated adults. The issue may be physical, mental, or emotional. The nature and degree of incapacitation is discussed at length during the proceedings. Sealing these records is a way of protecting the incapacitated adults who are unable to protect themselves from prying eyes.
Finally, deprived child proceedings are sealed. These proceedings involve minor children who may have been abused or neglected. Again, all the details are discussed in pleadings and in court as a normal part of the proceedings. A child is unable to protect his or herself from the curiosity of others, so these records are sealed.
What You Say or Do in a Civil Action May Come Back to Haunt You Later
There are plenty of acrimonious proceedings in family court cases. Violence, substance abuse, mental and emotional incapacitation, sexual infidelities are just some accusations that are often made and proven in family law cases.
These hearings and filings are all open to the public. What is said cannot be taken back or erased. Therefore, it is always best to be careful about how things are phrased and raised in court proceedings. This is one reason why it is important to have legal help in court cases.
There are some sensitive matters that a court will protect during a family law case if requested. Things such as social security numbers, birthdays, and other sensitive information will be redacted from the record. You must request that the court seals that information in order for the court to do so.
These matters can be handled carefully and expertly. Get experience on your side with Wirth Law Office – Wagoner.
Free Consultation with a Wagoner Family Law Attorney
Get the help you need today to understand how best to handle your situation. Wirth Law Office – Wagoner offers its clients the best possible family law, divorce, child custody, and child support representation in the Wagoner, Oklahoma area at reasonable rates.
We invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss what we can do for you. Contact Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 to schedule your free consultation. You can also fill out the form at the top of the page.