For many people, the fear of having their personal lives and financial information made public is one of the greatest sources of apprehension during the divorce process. Fortunately, there are a number of steps divorcing spouses can take to help protect their privacy when going through a divorce.
How to Maintain Confidentiality
It should be noted that these options may not be right for everyone, and in many cases, there will be countervailing interests involved. As a result, this is simply a list of potential options for maintaining privacy during the divorce process:
1. Keep Your Divorce Out of Court
The greatest risk of publicity in a divorce comes from the fact that divorce cases – like other civil cases – are public record and are heard in a public forum. To avoid this risk, you can use alternative methods to keep your divorce out of court.
There are three primary options for resolving divorce-related issues in a private setting: negotiation, mediation, and collaborative divorce. In most cases, spouses are able to use one of these three methods (or some combination of these methods) to finalize the terms of their divorce without resorting to litigation. Along with providing privacy, each of these options offers other benefits that will often be of interest to both spouses as well.
2. Stipulate to Confidentiality
Regardless of the method you and your spouse pursue, you can agree to maintain confidentiality throughout the process. A fairly simple confidentiality agreement will generally suffice, and can be used to prevent things like:
- Sharing information about the divorce or either spouse’s personal or financial circumstances on social media;
- Talking to neighbors, friends, and family about the divorce; and,
- Issuing press releases or making other public statements concerning the divorce.
3. Talk to Your Children
While it is up to you (and your spouse) to decide how much you tell your children about your divorce, there is a reasonable probability that they will grasp more information about the process than you expect or intend. There is also a chance that they will misinterpret certain information and form conclusions which may or may not be entirely consistent with the facts at hand.
As a result, you may choose to have a discussion with your children about the importance of maintaining your family’s privacy. If your children understand not only that you want them to help maintain the family’s privacy but also why maintaining privacy is important, they may be more open to limiting their discussions with teachers and friends.
4. Seek a Protective Order to File Under Seal
Finally, if your divorce is headed for litigation, you can explore the option of having both parties file under seal. Records filed under seal are “for the court’s eyes only,” and they are not made available to members of the public. Even when spouses are at odds regarding the terms of their divorce, they will often be able to agree on seeking a protective order so that they can submit their filings under seal.
Speak with a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC
MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC is a divorce and family law firm with offices in Hackensack, NJ. Our attorneys bring decades of combined legal experience to representing spouses in complex and high-net-worth divorces throughout New Jersey. If protecting your privacy is important to you, we can help you explore your options and execute a strategy to protect your personal and financial information as much as possible.