How Do I Protect My Privacy During a Divorce?
In our article “Are Divorce Records Public in Connecticut?” we learned that generally speaking, divorce filings and documents are public records. For many people, privacy — for them, their spouse, and their children — is a priority during and following a divorce. This is a common priority in high net worth divorces.
So, let’s talk about some of the ways to keep your divorce much more private or how do i protect my privacy during a divorce?
Consider a Prenup for Privacy
While this step won’t help if you are already getting divorced, it can be critical if you are about to get married and know that you want to protect your privacy.
A prenuptial agreement is a private agreement between a couple. It is signed before you get married and can set forth the division of their assets and how to address alimony in the event of divorce. You can also address the confidentiality of finances or other information arising out of the marriage—including an understanding that you and your spouse may not share certain types of information with other family members, friends or the public. And, because the division of assets and alimony are predecided in the prenup, there is less for the divorce court to decide, which limits the number of hearings and filings that take place, and therefore the information that’s “out there.”
Avoid Hearings and Trials in Your Divorce to Protect Your Privacy
One of the best ways to protect the privacy of you and your family during a divorce is to avoid hearings and trials. That’s because a lot of information is shared in hearings and trials, and generally speaking, hearings are open to the public and written transcripts of those hearings are also publicly accessible.
But how do you avoid hearings and trials in your divorce?
Consider Collaborative Divorce and Mediation
One way to keep things private during divorce is to consider the alternative approaches to divorce — collaborative divorce and mediation. Collaborative divorce and mediation keep you out of court, which means limiting the information that becomes public down to the bare minimum. To learn more about the difference between litigation, collaborative divorce, and mediation check out Managing Attorney Meghan Freed’s webinar on “How to Choose Your Approach to Divorce.”
Reach Agreements Outside of Court to Keep Divorce Details Private
Not all litigated divorces are tv style courtroom battles. Even couples who are litigating their divorces can reach agreements outside of court to settle all or some of the issues in their divorce. This is a “low conflict” divorce as opposed to a “high conflict” divorce, or one in which almost all issues require the court’s intervention.
Here are some approaches to reach out of court settlements:
- Negotiation between divorce attorneys
- “Four Way Meetings” between spouses and their lawyers
- “Kitchen Table Conversations” between spouses themselves
In “How to Choose Your Approach to Divorce,” we describe more about how to keep litigation “low conflict.”
Confidentiality agreements or NDAs are contracts that established a confidential relationship between the spouse disclosing sensitive information and the spouse to whom the information is being disclosed. Confidentiality agreements typically preclude the requesting spouse from sharing the confidential information with any third parties other than attorneys, accountants, or other experts. Sometimes, the disclosing spouse also asks the court to seal the court record to keep information offered into evidence in court private.
Stay Off Social Media
In many cases, it is the divorcing spouses themselves who wind up sharing details of the divorce via social media. Everything from photos, statuses, and even “vaguebooking” can paint a public picture of your divorce. Take a step back from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like if you find you are tempted to share.
At Freed Marcroft, we want you to understand what is happening in your divorce — including what information will be publicly available. Depending on your goals, skilled divorce counsel can develop a legal strategy keyed into maintaining your privacy.
Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals for your life. Once we discover your goals at the Goals and Planning Conference, we are able to take our collective experience with divorce, law, the available ways to divorce, strategy, courts, judges, and other lawyers, and build a divorce customized for you.