The Division of State Court Administration (Division) has received inquiries from clerks, lawyers and litigants about access to court records that arise out of cases involving Title IV-D child support issues. After doing some “investigative” work, we learned that a 2002 memorandum issued by the Division regarding the confidentiality of Title IV-D agency records may be the source of the confusion.
Based on this 2002 memorandum, some offices have denied access to all court records that may involve Tile IV-D child support issues. This practice is not accurate for two reasons.
First, the 2002 memorandum stated that Title IV-D records are confidential. Files owned by Title IV-D offices are indeed confidential; however, the actual court records are not the same as the Title IV-D records (those created and held by Title IV-D offices).
Secondly, since its adoption in 2005, Administrative Rule 9 has superseded all prior memorandums concerning confidentiality of court records. Administrative Rule 9 should guide all decisions pertaining to the confidentiality of court records. This rule provides that all court records are public, unless they are specifically excluded. All records in paternity cases are specifically excluded. However, most records in other cases involving Tile IV-D issues are not confidential, except for certain specific information within the case records, such as social security and bank account numbers.