Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trust eHow? No how!

Whilst Googling the Internet for information about a problem faced by some folks I care about, I saw eHow's page on sealing divorce records in Texas.

There are two readily-identifiable problems with it.

The novice will not immediately notice that the References section, which contains but one reference, contains a link to Rule 76A of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (though the eHow link erroneously denotes the rule as "76(a)" rather than the correct "76a"). The first is that filing "a copy" of a notice with a couple of court clerks is not the same thing as filing "a verified copy" as required by Tex. R. Civ. Proc. Rule 76A, which is referenced in the article. Filing "a copy" of the notice won't satisfy the rule if it's not "a verified copy." The instructions will lead the ordinary reader to failure. The instructions get an F.

The next problem is that Rule 76a's definition of the "court records" that are subject to Rule 76a(2)(a)(3) expressly excludes "documents filed in an action originally arising under the Family Code" – including every divorce action filed in Texas. In other words, if you want information about sealing divorce records in Texas, you need some other rule to guide you than Rule 76a.

Like Indiana Jones said, "They're digging in the wrong place!"

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