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Press Release - Filing Confidential Documents

Mar 05, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact:Zenell B. Brown, Executive Court Administrator
(313) 224-2236
Subject:Protecting the Confidentiality of Certain Family Court Documents

Detroit, MI – Many private documents make their way into court records when parties are divorced or litigating matters of custody and paternity. A recent court rule change seeks to protect the confidentiality of certain documents.

Michigan Court Rule 3.229 requires the filer to identify nonpublic documents when they are submitted to the clerk, and stipulates that the filer waives any claim of confidentiality where such documents are filed without a designation of confidentiality.

Effective January 1, 2020, attorneys and self-represented parties in Wayne County Circuit Court are able to maintain the confidentiality of certain documents. The change impacts documents such as the psychological evaluations, medical, mental health, and academic records of minor children. To be afforded the protection of the confidentiality, the party or attorney must submit the documents under a separate cover sheet marked “Confidential Records.” A Child Protective Service report must have a separate cover sheet marked “Confidential Records-CPS Report.” The Clerk will receive the cover sheet and the original documents. The attorney or party must also serve the other party with a copy of the document(s) filed. If an attorney or party fails to follow the requirements, they waive any right to confidentiality of the filed documents.

“In a day and age where information about individuals is so readily available, maintaining the confidentiality of particular information of the public we serve is a goal of the Family Division. This new court rule codifies that goal and gives attorneys and parties direction on how to keep their information confidential,” states Erin Lincoln, Deputy Court Administrator and Friend of the Court.

A copy of the full notice is available on the Third Circuit Court’s website at http://www.3rdcc.org/divisions/friend-of-the-court#/list.

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