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Why would someone want to seal divorce documents?

When wealthy couples decide to call it quits in Louisiana, it often results in a complicated divorce case. While some divorcing spouses may be able to hash out a divorce settlement with little incident, well-off individuals often argue over high-value property, resulting in a complex asset division process.

Consider the divorce case of the CEO of NASCAR. He fought tooth and nail to keep the details of his divorce case secret and sealed from the public eye and has done so since the divorce occurred in 2008. According to reports, this was the second time that this couple had both married and divorced.

Initially, the CEO was allowed to have his divorce records sealed. But an appeals court in 2011 said that the public has a right to know the proceedings of a case that occurred in public court. A judge then ruled that the documents should be opened, which required the reversal of another judge's order. The CEO quickly appealed this ruling, which kept the documents sealed until another ruling was made. An appeals court eventually decided that the unsealing of the records was a valid decision, upholding the 2011 rulings.

The most recent ruling was a unanimous decision from a three-judge panel, eliminating the CEO's right to an automatic appeal to his state Supreme Court. This means that the man's divorce records will likely be known to the public for some time, pending he does not find a way to appeal again. According to reports, the 2008 divorce settlement includes $10,000 per month in child support, $32,000 per month in alimony for a decade and a payment of $9 million, all for his ex-wife.

Some believe that the CEO requested the documents be sealed due to a dispute over confidentiality between him and his ex-wife, as well as other provisions that were outlined before the couple chose to divorce.

Source: Yahoo! Sports, "Court upholds order on NASCAR CEO's divorce case," Michael Biesecker, Dec. 31, 2012

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