Do divorces have to be made public, like in a newspaper?

Dear Liz,

Do divorces have to be made public, like in a newspaper? I don’t want my friends and family to find out about it before I get a chance to tell them and I don’t want to have to be forced to fess up because it might be public information.

– Not Ready to Tell

Dear Not Ready to Tell,

Having a major event like divorce upending your life is already traumatic enough, but being forced to tell people about it because you are worried about how they will find out is even worse. You probably need time to heal and settle into your new life. I totally get that. As for the legality of making news like this public in something like a newspaper, well, I honestly don’t know. My pal Amy is an expert on divorce and so I’m going to let her chime in on this one.

Here is what Amy had to say:

Divorces do not need to be made public in a newspaper. That is up to the newspaper to decide. However, a divorce judgment is public information and can be retrieved by any member of the public at the court clerk’s office.  As a member of the public, a newspaper reporter does have access to divorce matters filed in court.  In fact, I remember when the local paper published all divorces, arrests, and bankruptcies. This seems to be done less frequently now.  My understanding is that newspapers print information based on the level of public interest. There likely are other more newsworthy items to print currently.

Good luck!

~ Liz

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