The process of sealing family court records in New Jersey

Understanding the Confidentiality of Family Court Records in New Jersey

The integrity of the family court system in New Jersey is upheld by ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the parties involved. There are instances when individuals may need to have their family court records sealed to protect sensitive information from becoming public knowledge. Sealing these records is a legal process that requires a clear understanding of the steps involved.

Criteria for Sealing Family Court Records

Before delving into the process, it is crucial to understand that not all requests for sealing records will be granted. The court must balance the public's right to access information with the individual's right to privacy. Generally, a request to seal records will be considered if the case involves:

The Process of Sealing Records

To initiate the process of sealing family court records, one must file a formal motion with the court. This motion should include a detailed explanation as to why the sealing of records is necessary, along with any supporting evidence or documentation.

An example of this was seen in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, where the Supreme Court allowed the use of pseudonyms to protect the identities of the litigants involved. While this case did not occur in New Jersey, it illustrates how courts can prioritize individual privacy in sensitive legal matters.

Once the motion is filed, a judge will review the request and may schedule a hearing. During this hearing, both sides can argue their case as to why the records should or should not be sealed. It is here where providing ample evidence and a compelling argument are critical.

If a judge decides that sealing the records is justified, an order will be issued. However, it is important to note that even sealed records may still be accessed under certain circumstances, such as by court order or by specific parties who can demonstrate a legitimate legal interest.


The decision to seal family court records in New Jersey hinges on a variety of factors and requires careful consideration by a judge. As such, individuals seeking to seal their records must prepare a robust case that clearly outlines their need for privacy and how it outweighs any considerations for public access.