Generally, people have the right to seek discovery of any evidence relevant to their claims or defenses in divorce actions. Issues can arise, however, when the information sought is private or generally protected from disclosure. In a recent legal ruling issued in favor of the wife, a Florida court addressed the question of how to balance an individual’s privacy rights with the need for pertinent medical information in divorce proceedings. Attorney Sandy T. Fox, who represented the wife, successfully demonstrated that the husband waived his right to privacy by placing his health at issue. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to understand how your decision may impact your right to privacy, and it is smart to talk to a Miami divorce attorney.
Factual and Procedural Background
It is reported that the husband and the wife were married for over four decades. The husband filed for divorce, and the wife responded with a counter-petition seeking alimony. The wife subsequently requested that the husband provide his medical, psychological, health, and mental health records for the preceding three years. Despite the husband’s objections, the court granted the wife’s request. The husband filed a petition for a writ of certiorari.
Compelled Disclosure of Medical Records in Divorce Actions
The court ultimately denied the husband’s petition. In doing so, it explained that in order for a writ of certiorari to issue, the petitioner must demonstrate specific criteria: the challenged order should deviate from essential legal requirements, lead to significant harm for the case’s remainder, and be uncorrectable after judgment.
The court conceded that medical record disclosures may constitute irreparable harm, as once private medical information is revealed, the complete restoration of privacy becomes implausible. Further, Florida case law establishes that orders demanding confidential medical information disclosure meet irreparable harm criteria. This case presented a unique scenario, however, in that the husband actively placed his physical and mental health condition at issue while seeking relief from the court, with these claims verified under oath.
Specifically, he stated he could not earn more than a nominal income because he was disabled, argued he had serious and severe health issues and suffered from high blood pressure, heart disease, and prostate issues when seeking special accommodations for his deposition, exclusive use of the marital home, and with regard to the distribution of marital funds. As such, given the husband’s verified health-related claims, the court found that the trial court’s decision aligned with the prevailing law, and affirmed the trial court ruling.
Meet with a Trusted Miami Attorney
While people generally have the right to keep their medical information private, if they call attention to their health issues in a divorce action, their treatment records may be discoverable. If you have questions about your rights with regard to dissolution proceedings, it is smart to speak to an attorney. The trusted Miami family law lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., are proficient at helping people protect their interests in divorce actions, and if you hire us, we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.