Is Divorce Court Open to the Public?

By Wayne Thomas

Updated March 30, 2020

High angle view of courtroom

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Divorce proceedings necessarily involve the disclosure of highly personal and often intimate details. For that reason, a couple may desire that their divorce be held in private. However, in most states, unless there are specific circumstances requiring confidentiality, members of the public are allowed to be present during your divorce trial.

Public Access

Although states can vary, divorce hearings are usually open to the public. However, if your case involves minor children, particularly if there are allegations of physical or sexual abuse, a judge may decide to hold all or part of a hearing in private. In addition, if confidentiality is very important to you and your spouse, most divorces may be resolved through private negotiation or mediation in lieu of a divorce trial. Mediation is generally not open to the public.