As we previously noted here on Jan. 10, Maryland state Senator Richard Colburn and his wife Alma have been engaged in a stormy battle in court. Their divorce case has now reportedly been settled, with the details to be unsealed in March. The couple says that the agreement is comprehensive and achieves the goal of dissolving their marriage in an amicable manner.
In previous filings in the case, his wife accused the politician of having an affair with an aide who worked for him. He is 64 years old, while the ex-aide is 26 years old. She worked for him from 2010 until 2011, but the divorce petition did not specify when the alleged affair was supposed to have occurred. Three weeks ago, the judge in the case issued an unusual order that had the effect of making everything in the case, including the court file, confidential. This prevented access by the public to the record. This was in response to a request from Colburn's attorney, who argued that the public nature of information in the file could be harmful to him in his political career.
Apparently, the file will now again be open to public scrutiny shortly. His wife's attorney had argued against the file being sealed to begin with, saying that claims of possible harm were speculative. The argument was also made that public officials should be treated as equals before the law and that information in divorce files that other litigants might wish to keep private were made matters of public record.
Colburn's wife filed the initial divorce petition in the case in December of 2013. He has been a member of the Maryland state Senate for more than 19 years. Divorce attorneys are often able to protect the privacy and confidentiality of potentially embarrassing or harmful information by not filing it in court documents. Instead, they may discuss it between the parties and their attorneys during negotiations to reach a settlement agreement.
Source: Delmarvanow.com, "Sen. Colburn divorce resolved, records to be unsealed on March 1" Jennifer Shutt, Feb. 17, 2014