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All in the Family: Keeping Family Matters Private isn't Just a Challenge for the Famous

Mel B and Stephen Belafonte have expressed different views about what is in the best interests of their children over the course of their very public divorce. However, now Mel is claiming that her ex's very public approach to their separation is doing harm to their children. Specifically, Mel B has expressed distress that her ongoing domestic violence case against Belafonte is being broadcast to the media so intrusively. She is asking for the court to seal their case and prevent the media from airing more of the family's dirty laundry.

Privacy in the family law context is not only an issue faced by the rich and famous. Something that many families know or ought to be aware of is that the court system is part of the public record. Therefore, where possible, mediation and arbitration to solve family law issues can be preferable to trials because the contents of the case are not published. Alternatively, websites like CanLII make it possible for anyone to simply search the names of parties and find details of their court matter. This can mean that you children, their classmates, your neighbors, colleagues and the C.R.A. will have access to the details of your personal life. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the implications of going to court for your family law matter, and weigh the possible alternatives.


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