How can I get the public record of my dismissed case removed?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Royal Oak, MI

My husband filed for divorce and within 2 weeks he had the case dismissed. The divorce was filed due to unethical behavior by my husbands attorney. We have filed a grievance against the attorney with the state bar.

However, is there any way to get the record of the case deleted from the court website? It is public record and we do not want people to be able to search our last name and see that. My husband wouldn't have filed if wasn't given false information, and he never gave the attorney permission to file in the first place (he only had a consultation with the lawyer).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Henry S. Gornbein


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hi, that can be difficult. You will have to contact the court and the judge to see if the pleadings can be quashed - eliminated from the record completely. It depends upon the judge. Good luck to you.

    Henry Gornbein

  2. Peter L. Conway

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with both Mr. Brennan and Mr. Gornbein. You may want to consider Michigan Court Rule 8.119(l), however, public policy causes courts to be reluctant to seal records. I have never known a court to be willing to actually delete records from the court files, including, especially, complaints.

    I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not... more
  3. John F. Brennan

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . I would need specifics, but generally the court's records are not modified. In your,case you might be able to have the record sealed so at least the details of the case will not be available to the public.

    To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an... more
  4. Christine Marie Heckler

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Attorney Conway. I would just add that I do not believe that sealing the court record (even if you could successfully get it sealed) would accomplish your goal of preventing anyone from knowing that a divorce had even been filed. Under the court rule cited by Mr. Conway "[a] court may not seal a court order or opinion, including an order or opinion that disposes of a motion to seal the record." In other words, there would still be a record that there was a divorce case and that it was sealed.

    Although you may consider it embarrassing that your husband filed a divorce against you, it is unlikely that anyone would search for that information or know where to find it. Even if the information is discovered, the record would reflect that the action was voluntarily dismissed.

    Finally, your husband might have felt pressured to file the divorce, but no one forced him to seek out a divorce attorney in the first place. Don't let him use this controversy with the attorney to distract your attention from that fact that he was contemplating divorce. Your time and energy might be better utilized if you directed it at healing the underlying problems in your marriage that precipitated this situation. I wish you the best of luck.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided as general information, which may not be appropriate for the specific facts of... more

Related Topics


Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

Expungement of criminal record

Expungement means sealing a criminal record, which makes it invisible to most people searching for it. State laws differ on what kinds of offenses are eligible.

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