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2021 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.382. Request to make minor's information confidential in domestic violence protective order proceedings

(a) Application of rule

This rule applies to requests and orders made under Family Code section 6301.5 to keep a minor's information confidential in a domestic violence protective order proceeding.

Wherever used in this rule, "legal guardian" means either parent if both parents have legal custody, or the parent or person having legal custody, or the guardian, of a minor.

(b) Information that may be made confidential

The information that may be made confidential includes:

(1)  The minor's name;

(2)  The minor's address;

(3)  The circumstances surrounding the protective order with respect to the minor. These include the allegations in the Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (form DV-100) that involve conduct directed, in whole or in part, toward the minor; and

(4)  Any other information that the minor or legal guardian believes should be confidential.

(c) Requests for confidentiality

(1)  Person making request

A request for confidentiality may be made by a minor or legal guardian.

(2)  Number of minors

A request for confidentiality by a legal guardian may be made for more than one minor. "Minor," as used in this rule, refers to all minors for whom a request for confidentiality is made.

(d) Procedures for making request

(1)  Timing of requests

A request for confidentiality may be made at any time during the case.

(2)  Submission of request

The person submitting a request must complete and file Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-160), a confidential form.

(3)  Ruling on request

(A)  Ruling on request without notice

The court must determine whether to grant a request for confidentiality without requiring that any notice of the request be given to the other party, or both parties if the minor is not a party in the proceeding. No adversarial hearing is to be held.

(B)  Request for confidentiality submitted at the same time as a request for restraining orders

If a request for confidentiality is submitted at the same time as a request for restraining orders, the court must consider both requests consistent with Family Code section 6326, and must consider and rule on the request for confidentiality before the request for restraining order is filed.

Documents submitted with the restraining order request must not be filed until after the court has ruled on the request for confidentiality and must be consistent with (C) below.

(C)  em] Withdrawal of request

If a request for confidentiality under (B) made by the person asking for the restraining order is denied and the requester seeks to withdraw the request for restraining orders, all of the following apply:

(i)  The court must not file the request for restraining order and the accompanying proposed order forms and must return the documents to the requester personally, destroy the documents, or delete the documents from any electronic files;

(ii)  The order denying confidentiality must be filed and maintained in a public file; and

(iii)  The request for confidentiality must be filed and maintained in a confidential file.

(4)  Need for additional facts

If the court finds that the request for confidentiality is insufficiently specific to meet the requirements under Family Code section 6301.5(b) for granting the request, the court may take testimony from the minor, or legal guardian, the person requesting a protective order, or other competent witness, in a closed hearing in order to determine if there are additional facts that would support granting the request.

(e) Orders on request for confidentiality

(1)  Rulings

The court may grant the entire request, deny the entire request, or partially grant the request for confidentiality.

(2)  Order granting request for confidentiality

(A)  em] Applicability

An order made under Family Code section 6301.5 applies in this case and in any other civil case to all registers of actions, indexes, court calendars, pleadings, discovery documents, and other documents filed or served in the action, and at hearings, trial, and other court proceedings that are open to the public.

(B)  Minor's name

If the court grants a request for confidentiality of the minor's name and:

(i)  If the minor is a party to the action, the court must use the initials of the minor, or other initials at the discretion of the court. In addition, the court must use only initials to identify both parties to the action if using the other party's name would likely reveal the identity of the minor.

(ii)  If the minor is not a party to the action, the court must not include any information that would likely reveal the identity of the minor, including whether the minor lives with the person making the request for confidentiality.

(C)  Circumstances surrounding protective order (statements related to minor)

If the court grants a request for confidentiality, the order must specifically identify the information about the minor in Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (form DV-100) and any other applicable document that must be kept confidential. Information about the minor ordered confidential by the court must not be made available to the public.

(D)  Service and copies

The other party, or both parties if the person making the request for confidentiality is not a party to the action, must be served with a copy of the Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-160), Order on Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-165), and Notice of Order Protecting Information of Minor (form DV-170), redacted if required under (f)(4).

The protected person and the person requesting confidentiality (if not the protected person) must be provided up to three copies of redacted and unredacted copies of any request or order form.

(3)  Order denying request for confidentiality

(A)  The order denying confidentiality must be filed and maintained in a public file. The request for confidentiality must be filed and maintained in a confidential file.

(B)  Notwithstanding denial of a request to keep the minor's address confidential, the address may be confidential under other statutory provisions.

(C)  Service

(i)  If a request for confidentiality is denied and the request for restraining order has been withdrawn, and if no other action is pending before the court in the case, then the Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-160) and Order on Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-165) must not be served on the other party, or both parties if the person making the request for confidentiality is not a party to the action.

(ii)  If a request for confidentiality is denied and the request for restraining order has not been withdrawn, or if an action between the same parties is pending before the court, then the Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-160) and Order on Request to Keep Minor's Information Confidential (form DV-165) must be served on the other party, or both parties if the person making the request for confidentiality is not a party to the action.

(f) Procedures to protect confidential information when order is granted

(1)  If a request for confidentiality is granted in whole or in part, the court, in its discretion, and taking into consideration the factors stated in (g), must ensure that the order granting confidentiality is maintained in the most effective manner by:

(A)  The judicial officer redacting all information to be kept confidential from all applicable documents;

(B)  Ordering the requesting party or the requesting party's attorney to prepare a redacted copy of all applicable documents and submit all redacted copies to the court for review and filing; or

(C)  Ordering any other procedure that facilitates the prompt and accurate preparation of a redacted copy of all applicable documents in compliance with the court's order granting confidentiality, provided the selected procedure is consistent with (g).

(2)  The redacted copy or copies must be filed and maintained in a public file, and the unredacted copy or copies must be filed and maintained in a confidential file.

(3)  Information that is made confidential from the public and the restrained person must be filed in a confidential file accessible only to the minor or minors who are subjects of the order of confidentiality, or legal guardian who requested confidentiality, law enforcement for enforcement purposes only, and the court.

(4)  Any information that is made confidential from the restrained person must be redacted from the copy that will be served on the restrained person.

(g) Factors in selecting redaction procedures

In determining the procedures to follow under (f), the court must consider the following factors:

(1)  Whether the requesting party is represented by an attorney;

(2)  Whether the requesting party has immediate access to a self-help center or other legal assistance;

(3)  Whether the requesting party is capable of preparing redacted materials without assistance;

(4)  Whether the redactions to the applicable documents are simple or complex; and

(5)  When applicable, whether the selected procedure will ensure that the orders on the request for restraining order and the request for confidentiality are entered in an expeditious and timely manner.

(h) Releasing minor's confidential information

(1)  To respondent

Information about a minor must be shared with the respondent only as provided in Family Code section 6301.5(d)(1)(B), limited to information necessary to allow the respondent to respond to the request for the protective order and to comply with the confidentiality order and the protective order.

(2)   To law enforcement

Information about a minor must be shared with law enforcement only as provided in Family Code section 6301.5(d)(1)(A) or by court order.

(3)  To other persons

If the court finds it is necessary to prevent abuse within the meaning of Family Code section 6220, or is in the best interest of the minor, the court may release confidential information on the request of any person or entity or on the court's own motion.

(A)  Request for release of confidential information

(i)  Any person or entity may request the release of confidential information by filing Request for Release of Minor's Confidential Information (form DV-176) and a proposed order, Order on Request for Release of Minor's Confidential Information (form DV-179), with the court.

(ii)  Within 10 days after filing form DV-176 with the clerk, the clerk must serve, by first-class mail, the following documents on the minor or legal guardian who made the request to keep the minor's information confidential:

a. Cover Sheet for Confidential Information (form DV-175);

b. Request for Release of Minor's Confidential Information (form DV-176);

c. Notice of Request for Release of Minor's Confidential Information (form DV-177);

d. Response to Request for Release of Minor's Confidential Information (form DV-178) (blank copy);

e. Order on Request for Release of Minor's Confidential Information (form DV-179).

(B)  Opportunity to object

(i)  The person who made the request for confidentiality has the right to object by filing form DV-178 within 20 days from the date of the mailing of form DV-177, or verbally objecting at a hearing, if one is held.

(ii)  The person filing a response must serve a copy of the response (form DV-178) on the person requesting release of confidential information. Service must occur before filing the response form with the court unless the response form contains confidential information. If the response form contains confidential information, service must be done as soon as possible after the response form has been redacted.

(iii)  If the person who made the request for confidentiality objects to the release of information, the court may set the matter for a closed hearing.

(C)  Rulings

The request may be granted or denied in whole or in part without a hearing. Alternatively, the court may set the matter for hearing on at least 10 days' notice to the person who made the request for release of confidential information and the person who made the request for confidential information. Any hearing must be confidential.

(i)  Order granting release of confidential information

a. The order (form DV-179) granting the release of confidential information must be prepared in a manner consistent with the procedures outlined in (f).

b. A redacted copy of the order (form DV-179) must be filed in a public file and an unredacted copy of the order must be filed in a confidential file.

c. Service

If the court grants the request for release of information based on the pleadings, the court must mail a copy of form DV-179 to the person who filed form DV-176 and the person who made the request to keep the minor's information confidential. Parties may be served in court if present at the hearing.

(ii)  Order denying request to release minor's confidential information

a. The court may deny a request to release confidential information based on the request alone.

b. The order (form DV-179) denying the release of confidential information must be filed in a public file and must not include any confidential information.

c. Service

If the court denies the request for release of information based on the pleadings, the court must mail a copy of form DV-179 to the person who filed form DV-176 and the person who made the request to keep the minor's information confidential. Parties may be served in court if present at the hearing.

(iii)  If the court finds that the request to release confidential information is insufficiently specific to meet the requirements under Family Code section 6301.5(d)(3), the court may conduct a closed hearing to determine if there are additional facts that would support granting the request. The court may receive any relevant evidence, including testimony from the person requesting release of the minor's confidential information, the minor, the legal guardian, the person who requested the restraining order, or other competent witness.

(Subd (h) amended effective September 1, 2020.)

(i) Protecting information in subsequent filings and other civil cases

(1)  Filings made after an order granting confidentiality

(A)  A party seeking to file a document or form after an order for confidentiality has been made must submit the Cover Sheet for Confidential Information (form DV-175) attached to the front of the document to be filed.

(B)  Upon receipt of form DV-175 with attached documents, the court must:

(i)  Order a procedure for redaction consistent with the procedures stated in (f);

(ii)  File the unredacted document in the confidential file pending receipt of the redacted document if the redacted document is not prepared on the same court day; and

(iii)  File the redacted document in the public file after it has been reviewed and approved by the court for accuracy.

(2)  Other civil case

(A)  Information subject to an order of confidentiality issued under Family Code section 6301.5 must be kept confidential in any family law case and any other civil case with the same parties.

(B)  The minor or person making the request for confidentiality and any person who has been served with a notice of confidentiality must submit a copy of the order of confidentiality (form DV-165) in any family law case and any other civil case with the same parties.

(Subd (i) amended effective September 1, 2020.)

Rule 5.382 amended effective September 1, 2020; adopted effective January 1, 2019.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivisions (a), (b), (d), and (e). The process described in this rule need not be used if the request for confidentiality is merely to keep an address confidential and the minor has a mailing address which does not need to be kept private that can be listed on the forms, or if the minor's address can be made confidential under Family Code section 3429. In addition, the address need not be listed on the protective order for enforcement purposes under Family Code section 6225. The restraining order forms do not require the address of the nonpetitioning minor.

This rule and rule 2.551 provide a standard and procedures for courts to follow when a request is made to seal a record. The standard as reflected in Family Code section 6301.5 is based on NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178. The standard recognizes the First Amendment right of access to documents used at trial or as a basis of adjudication.

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