One of the advantages of using mediation to settle a divorce is that it helps keeps things private. You don’t have as many documents filed with the court or testimony that could potentially be accessed and made public or used by business competitors. If you’re a business owner, civic leader or another well-known person in your community or even if you’re a professional who wants to be known by clients for your knowledge and skills rather than your personal life, privacy is important.
Mediation isn’t for everyone, however. If you and your soon-to-be have considerable animosity toward one another or lack of trust, you may not be able to work together as mediation requires to negotiate agreements. If there’s been physical and/or emotional abuse in the marriage, mediation is definitely not the best option.
If you’re litigating your divorce, you may still be able to preserve your privacy regarding your personal life as well as your business by seeking a confidentiality agreement from the judge. You’ll need to provide a reason why a confidentiality agreement is necessary.
What’s typically necessary to get approval for a confidentiality agreement?
Judges are more likely to approve a confidentiality agreement when a person’s business could be at stake if others were able to see the financial disclosures spouses are required to make in divorce. If you’re in a partnership, there may be restrictions in your contract around the disclosure of financial information, so a confidentiality agreement may be required.
If your concern is that personal information could get out that would embarrass you or your family, such as substance abuse and marital infidelity, it can be more challenging to get a judge’s approval for a confidentiality agreement unless you can show that you’ll suffer considerable harm – particularly financially.
If you’re considering seeking a confidentiality agreement for your divorce, having legal guidance can help you make your case and, if necessary, find other options to help protect your privacy,