Illinois media outlets have taken interest in the divorce case of former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. because the case records include details about his possible improprieties. The coverage is a reminder that divorce records are public information, unless a court specifies otherwise. Reporters use their access rights to investigate public figures, but anyone can request to see the record of any divorce case. Spouses may use personal information as evidence to help determine divorce issues, such as division of property and allocation of parental responsibility. Submitting the evidence can make sensitive information part of the public record, including:
- Business valuations and trade secrets;
- Accounts of past infidelity;
- Accusations of criminal offenses that did not result in official charges; and
- Details about someone’s private life.
There are actions you can take during your divorce that can protect sensitive information in your case from becoming public.