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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Identity Theft Concerns in Family Court Orders

The 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 parents' personal information.

Note: 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 family court, even where a form or order contained a field for the information. Now, only the last four-digits are used, as 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 passage of the Identity Theft Protection Act in 2004.

The new privacy legislation, introduced to the House in April, was recently considered by the House Judiciary Committee at a meeting on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

Family law attorneys are becoming increasingly sophisticated and creative in drafting family court orders in such 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 your situation.

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