First off, you should understand the difference between sealing and not sealing your divorce file.
If you do NOT seal your divorce documents file, it remains part of the public record. As such, anyone who wishes to do so can present themselves at court and ask to see the file; people you know, people you’ve never met, any attorney. For instance, if you wished to see someone’s divorce file at court, you need only present yourself at the clerk’s office at Family Court, show some identification, and request the file.
You will be shown into a reading room and asked to sign out the divorce file you requested. It will be retrieved by the court clerk and brought to you. You will be able to read the entire file, as well as ask for copies of certain pages or documents in it, or even request that the entire file be copied. You will not be allowed to leave that room or the court with the file.
Other than a very few smaller counties in Northern Nevada, most counties’ family courts’ databases can be accessed online. At this time, only the case number, name of the parties, and names of the pleadings, such as joint petition for divorce, complaint for divorce, decree of divorce, and all other documents pertaining to your divorce, such as affidavits and financial disclosures, are visible to the public; the documents themselves are not visible, at least not at the time of this writing. Only attorneys have access to a paid service through which they can see full pleadings online.
If you file a formal request for the court to seal your divorce file, none of the court pleadings having to do with your Nevada divorce will be accessible to the public or attorneys, other than your own attorney and as long as he or she is still your attorney of record, once the Order to Seal has been signed by the Family Court judge and filed by the Clerk of the Court.
A court order will be needed to access the file after it is sealed, except by the parties to the case who will have to present themselves at court in person and show identification.
If you obtained your divorce by a Default process (when the other party did not sign divorce documents and did not respond to the Complaint for Divorce) you will not be able to seal your divorce in Nevada. This is to allow access to the file by the Defendant.
If anyone were to search the court’s online database once your divorce is sealed, nothing would show up at all either under your name, your spouse’s name, or under the case number.
Should you seal your own divorce? This is a very personal decision. Do you feel uncomfortable at the thought of any stranger having access to your divorce file and reading the financial settlement you arrived at with your spouse? Were there acrimonious affidavits filed by you or your spouse and you wish to keep those private? Does just knowing that your divorce is part of the public record bother you?
If so, you might want to seal your Nevada divorce file.