A divorce can be a very public affair. In Washington State, divorce filings are generally publicly available documents. For many divorcing spouses with a high net worth, maintaining financial privacy is a primary concern. For other divorcing spouses, it may be the “dirty laundry” that they want to keep private. This is especially true if either spouse has a high-profile career that they want to protect. Let us discuss some of the main ways that you can keep your privacy intact during your divorce.
Keep your Social Media Clean
It is a bad idea to discuss your divorce on social media. It tends to make you look petty and invites trouble. Divorce attorneys often use social media posts as evidence to show the other party’s spending habits, traveling routines, poor parenting choices, and work history. It is better to stay off social media and turn to trusted family, friends, or professionals when you need emotional support.
Keep your Divorce Out of the Courts
Find an attorney who plays well with others. Attorneys who are skilled at working with the other side can often get you the best deals and protect your privacy in the process. Unless you have urgent safety issues, you can usually avoid having your first step be filing a motion for temporary orders with the court. Instead, see if the attorneys can negotiate temporary agreements that will be in place while you work on a final settlement. An early mediation focused on temporary agreements can also save you money and public embarrassment. Forget trying to find a “shark” and look for a skilled peacemaker.
Utilize Alternative Dispute Resolution
Consider mediation and arbitration as an alternative to court hearings and a messy divorce trial. These alternatives will protect your privacy and allow for a more tailored result. Start planning to engage in these alternative methods early in the process instead of waiting until trial is right around the corner.
A good confidentiality agreement can protect your finances and the details of your divorce. If you are offering a fair deal, the other side usually has no problem signing an agreement that keeps the details private. If you are paying continued support, in the form of spousal maintenance or child support, both parties have a personal stake in protecting your ability to earn a good living.
It is important for your attorney to explain what information will be publicly available in your divorce. An experienced and skilled divorce attorney can help you reach your goals and advise you on the best ways to maintain your privacy.