By Mag. Kimberly Dean Mattingly, Marion Superior Court
There are many of us who still do not fully grasp Administrative Rule 9, the “Green Paper” rule (me included!). As we move from paper files to electronic ones, this issue has become even more confusing. For the most part, Courts with family law jurisdiction do not need confidential information such as SSNs or account numbers. Drafting your filings to omit these or use the last few digits will let you avoid green paper altogether, and mean less for courts to store in paper files or electronically.
If you must file something that has information that can or should be excluded from what is available to the public, you may not simply file a green version and leave it at that. You must provide a redacted version on white paper, as well as a Notice of Exclusion of Confidential Information. Only information that is covered by Admin Rule 9 can be excluded; this is one rule that the parties cannot “agree their way around.” For example, parties can agree to the payment of alimony even if a Court can’t order it, but they cannot agree to exclude information that they’d rather not be publicly available (DV allegations, abuse allegations, etc).
EDIT: Under Trial Rule 86(M), the advent of e-filing will change only one superficial aspect of what has been come to be known as the “green paper rule” – the color of the paper. Although confidential documents will now be e-filed using white paper rather than green paper and instead the filer will check a box indicating that the confidential version of their filing is confidential, all other aspects of Administrative Rule 9 apply to the process of filing confidential documents. Notice to Maintain Exclusion from Public Access pursuant to AR9(G)(5)(a) is still required. Where only a portion of the Court Record is to be excluded pursuant to AR 9(G)(2) or (3), filing of Public Access and Non-Public Access versions is still required.
So, yes, the green paper itself is no longer necessary for e-filed fully or partially confidential records in cases open to public access. Every other part of the rule that ensured that such records remain confidential is still in force and effect.
Stay tuned for a new tip next week!
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