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Identity Theft Concerns in Family Court Orders

Clarkston Legal June 7, 2009

Identity TheftThe Michigan House of Representatives introduced a trio of bills which will require judgments of divorce, orders of filiation (between non-married parents) and child support orders to omit a parent’s personal information.

It should be noted, however, that a parent’s name and address are deemed outside the scope of the phrase “personal identifying information”, as that term would be used in the legislation. Personal information is defined as: telephone number, driver license or state personal identification card number, Social Security number, place of employment, employee identification number, employer or taxpayer identification number, government passport number, health insurance identification number, mother’s maiden name, demand deposit account number, savings account number, financial transaction device account number or the person’s account password, stock or other security certificate or account number credit card number, vital record, or medical records or information.

These bills continue the Legislature’s efforts to combat identity theft. Several years ago, social security numbers (once routinely included in a variety of support-related orders and divorce decrees) were precluded from being submitted to a court, even where a form or order contained a feild for the information. Now, only the last four-digits are used, and it is a misdemeanor to include a person’s social security number on a public document. The bills also come on the heals of the drafting, consideration and passing of the Identity Theft Protection Act in 2004.

The bills, introduced to the House just last month (April 2009), are scheduled for discussion at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

Family law attorneys are becoming increasingly sophisticated and creative in their drafting of these orders in a fashion that avoids telling the public too much about their clients. If you have additional questions on this or other family law topics that may affect your case, feel free to give us a call to discuss.