Irvine, CA asked in Divorce for California

Q: It is possible to seal a divorce petition if it has not already been served and we didn't go through with the divorce?

I filed the petition and did not end up going through with the proceedings or serving my partner. However, we are now finding that when you search for our names on Google, it shows a record of the document in Trellis, a third party data source. Could we request that this be sealed if I did not serve the documents? Any other recommendations to protect our privacy?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You are concerned about privacy, but it appears that the cat is already out of the bag because your petition showed up on Trellis. Yes, you can petition the court to seal the case. This must be done BEFORE the case is dismissed. Once the case is dismissed it it closed. You must show a compelling reason for sealing the case to the judge. Even if your request to the judge is denied, you will then file a Request For Dismissal, form. This is what they look like: Once the Request For Dismissal form has been filed, it too should show up on Trellis. Here is another idea you might want to pursue: Find a high end family law firm in your area, one which regularly handles family law matters for celebrities and high income clients. Make an appointment and pay their consultation fee. They specialize in privacy issues to protect their clients.

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