Families going through a divorce, child custody hearing, or other sensitive family court matters like to keep their issues private. The U.K. is implementing a plan to livestream family court proceedings to improve public understanding of the judicial system. Would family courts in the U.S. consider livestreaming divorce proceedings?
Livestreaming Family Court Proceedings in the U.K.
The U.K. Court of Appeals, the highest court in England and Wales, will begin streaming family court hearings, including divorce cases and child care proceedings. The video streams will be accessible to the public and broadcast on the court website, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. According to the U.K. government, the reason behind the move is to increase transparency and public confidence in the justice system.
The pilot program will have safeguards in place to protect vulnerable individuals and maintain privacy. This includes 90-second delayed broadcasting that would give judges the ability to immediately stop broadcasting. Additionally, in cases where full access would not be appropriate, the court could ensure those involved would be kept anonymous, including the discretion not to stream the hearing.
“This builds on our recent action to improve public understanding of our justice system,” said Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland, “including by allowing television cameras to broadcast sentencing remarks from Crown Courts for the first time.”
The program is still in the pilot period. Parties who are selected for the live-stream pilot program would be notified and given a chance to object.
Privacy and Divorce in Missouri
Most people like to keep their private life private, especially in times of difficulty. A divorce can expose a lot of issues that couples and families would like to keep private. Unfortunately for those individuals, a divorce is a court proceeding that is generally part of the public record. This means the divorce records can generally be accessed by the public.
There are steps couples and individuals can take to keep some matters private or restrict access to divorce records, sometimes where children are involved. Options to keep matters private include:
- Negotiate separation agreement before going to court,
- Mediation for child custody and visitation, and
- Motions to seal records.
The simplest way to keep matters private in a divorce is to settle all disputes without going to court. This generally means coming to an agreement on major topics like alimony, child custody, and property division. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to agree on these issues, especially in a contentious divorce.
Another common option is to use mediation. Parties can seek out private mediation or the court may order mediation, for issues like child custody and visitation plans. What happens in mediation generally does not become part of the public record, except for any agreements signed by the parties.
A motion to seal records or close the courtroom may be granted where the court finds the interest in privacy outweighs the public interest in accessing these records. The court generally presumes that court records are to be open to the public and may not grant a motion to seal records without a valid reason.
If you have questions about privacy in a divorce and how to keep things out of the public record, contact the Joshua Wilson Law Firm today at (816) 331-9968 for a consultation.