Where's the Line? The North Carolina Court of Appeals and Confidentiality

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s decision to unseal the court records involving the divorce of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, the Associated Press reports.

For years, France has asked the courts to keep confidential the details of his 2008 divorce from Megan France of Charlotte.  The couple married twice, and Brian France requested that the records be kept under seal because there are disputes about whether his ex-wife violated terms of their most recent divorce settlement.

North Carolina divorce records are, as a rule, not sealed unless a judge decides the case is too high-profile or involves child custody matters. That’s because transparency in the courts is hailed as a hallmark principle in the American justice system.

But Mecklenburg County judges involved in the France case were divided over whether the matters in question were significant enough to justify sealing the records. The appeals court ruled unanimously that the lower court judge’s decision to unseal the documents was valid, deciding that the public right to transparency outweighed France’s request.

Because the decision was unanimous, the NASCAR head does not have the automatic right to appeal to the N.C. Supreme Court, the state’s highest court.

For information on how your divorce may be handled in North Carolina, contacting an experienced divorce and separation attorney is essential. A North Carolina State Bar-certified Family Law Specialist can explain the law and give you important advice on all aspects of the divorce process.


Charles Ullman & Associates provides you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. You can trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively so you can transition to the next phase of your life. Our community involvement reaches beyond charitable support of important causes. We launched our own movement in Fraternities4Family and provide scholarships to able students in need.