Judge makes commissioner's divorce proceedings confidential

Published 01/15 2014 02:33PM

Updated 01/15 2014 07:55PM

A Coffee County judge Wednesday ordered a divorce case involving Dothan City Commissioner to be confidential. The order by Coffee County Circuit Judge Thomas Head prohibits the public and members of the media from accessing documents related to the case involving Commissioner Taylor Barbaree and his wife.

The order was filed after the Dothan Eagle published a story Tuesday regarding a temporary restraining order issued against Barbaree. It was filed at the request of his wife, Jenna, by Dothan attorney Bryan Blackwell. Mrs. Barbaree was given temporary custody of the couple’s two children.

The motion mentions Barbaree is a Dothan commissioner and that news organizations have reported on case activity.

While unusual, domestic cases are occasionally made confidential especially when children are involved. The divorce case involving former Dothan City Manager Dennis Rubin was sealed after a 2012 hearing regarding alleged arrearages in the payment of child support by Rubin. A judge ordered details of the case made private after attorneys noticed a media member in the courtroom.

Cases other than those of a domestic nature are occasionally sealed in Alabama. One instance involved documents surrounding the murder case against Amy Bishop, a university professor accused of shooting three people to death.

Court records secured before they became confidential show Jenna Barbaree filed for divorce January 9, citing a complete incompatibility of temperament. Mrs. Barbaree, on January 13, filed an emergency motion for temporary custody of the children.  Records involving the proceedings were later removed from public view.

Head granted the motion that forbids Taylor Barbaree from coming within 100 yards of his wife or their children, their place of work, school, or residence. The only exception is for the purpose of child visitation which must be supervised by Jenna Barbaree.

A hearing will be scheduled at a later date to determine if the injunction will be made permanent. The divorce case was filed in Coffee County even though both Barbarees reside in Dothan.

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