Redacting Social Security Numbers from Divorce Documents

The pro se filer should pay attention to those divorce documents that include a Social Security number, and make inquiries about redaction.
County clerks and records maintain property and tax records (such as mortgages and liens) as well as divorce, family and juvenile court records, consent decrees, wills and probate records, and documents relating to military discharges. And a small fraction of the millions of public records maintained by county and state governments include Social Security numbers. Most public records filed over the past few years do not list them, thanks to state laws prohibiting the practice, but older records do, especially documents that were filed prior to the mid-1990s.

As a result, a government web site may contain many documents containing personal information, including birth dates, addresses, bank account data, information about debts, driver’s license and vehicle registration numbers, the height and race of individuals, the names and birth dates of minor children, child custody details and even medical records.

Dozens of county governments now redact Social Security numbers and some other types of personal data from online images of public records. Many others are working to do so. At least four states now mandate redactions of Social Security numbers. However, the redaction efforts only involve truly sensitive information such as Social Security numbers and credit card or bank account data. Other types of information remain part of the public record.

This entry was posted in Filing Procedures. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply