What is a confidential marriage? Marriage and divorce records are traditionally public records. If you wish to find out if two people are married, married, unmarried or divorced, you must simply contact the office of Vital Records, a division of the California Department of Public Health. However, especially with the large number of celebrities and other wealthy individuals in California, some couples may wish to keep records relating to marriage or divorce a secret. Some celebrities are fiercely private, most often when it comes to their romantic relationships, and they do not want the paparazzi or other media outlets unearthing records of their marriage or divorce. Other couples may not want their marriage or divorce records public because they are trying to keep certain aspects of their lives secret, such as their net worth, sexual orientation, and more.
Confidential Marriages in California
Fortunately, secretive couples in California are in luck—California is the only state that allows couples to obtain a confidential marriage license. These confidential licenses may be issued by either the county clerk’s office or by a specially authorized notary, who can then file the license for you at the clerk’s office. Copies of this license will only be available to the two individuals who were married with that particular license and others may not obtain information regarding the union, except under rare circumstances.
In order to obtain a confidential marriage license, however, the law requires that you have been living together as a couple; however, there is no minimum amount of time you must live together, and notaries generally are not able to double-check whether you do, in fact, live together.
Confidential Divorce Records
Though divorces are often public record, it is understandable why some couples may want to keep certain information confidential—especially related to finances. California law 2024.6 was passed in recent years and allows couples to request that a family court seals any documents with information regarding assets, liabilities, or the location of those assets or liabilities. Once the record is sealed, a person would need to petition the family court and demonstrate good cause as to why the record should be unsealed for the information to be released.
Another way to keep some of the information related to your divorce secret is to settle many issues outside of court through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. Though some records will still need to be filed with the court and may become public, you can hide much information regarding your assets and other finances through alternative dispute resolution and by keeping the battles out of court.
Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Family Law Attorney for Help Today
At the family law offices of Beck Law, P.C., we understand that each married couple will have different circumstances and varying needs. If you have sensitive information that you would like to keep private in your marriage or divorce, we will work to keep as much information confidential as possible. If you have any legal matter related to marriage, divorce, or other family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office today for assistance.