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Closed Divorce Cases for the Rich and Famous

Posted on May 15, 2013 in Divorce

Cook County courthouses are shunning the American tradition of keeping family law cases open and public, according to the Chicago Tribune. There have been several cases as of late to pass through Illinois public courts that have been sealed or kept closed from the public, according to the Tribune, "despite a rich tradition of openness in the U.S. court system." Closed courts, or cases in which initials are used instead of full names, are most often utilized by the rich and famous to keep their identities private and avoid media coverage. One such case like this is that of former state lawmaker and county commissioner John Fritchey, who is noted on divorce records simply as J.F. His former wife, Karen Banks Fritchey, "who comes from an influential political family," was listed on the documents as K.F.

According to the Tribune, "legal experts said cases should remain open and identities should be shielded only in exceptional instances. Entire case files should not be hidden because individuals want privacy or because they might be embarrassed." This is especially true in a society in which divorce is growing more acceptable. According to a 2008 Gallup Values and Beliefs survey, the percentage of Americans who reported that divorce is morally acceptable was up to 70 percent, "up from 59 percent in 2001, and breaking the previous high of 67 percent in 2006." In fact, tolerance for divorce was comparable to acceptance of "gambling, the death penalty, embryonic stem-cell research, and premarital sex."

And yet according to Psychology Today, "in our modern American culture, divorce is still seen as a negative life event—even taboo." This is mostly brought on by the people closest to those going through a divorce; "the attitudes and actions of friends, family, and acquaintances in reaction to hearing of the split can leave "dissolutioners" feeling isolated, marginalized, and rejected." Perhaps this is why people in the public spotlight, regardless of whether it’s right nor not, are opting for closed court cases when going through a divorce.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don’t go through it alone. The most important first step is to contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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