How to Keep Your Divorce as Private as Possible
There are many reasons why a couple would want to keep their divorce low-profile. Divorce can be extremely painful for many couples, and the glare of public attention — even from friends, family, and colleagues — can make it even worse. This can be especially true in high-asset divorces. While there is no such thing as a truly confidential divorce under California family law, there are several steps divorcing couples can take to keep the details of their divorce as private as possible. A Stockton divorce attorney can help you pursue some of these strategies.
Ask the Court to Seal the Records
Court records in California generally are available to the public except in limited circumstances. While some records are more easily accessible than others (e.g., some are available remotely while others are available only at courthouses), you should assume that anything you file with the court will be capable of being accessed by the public one way or another. You can prevent public access by asking the court to seal certain records. However, courts typically only seal records in extraordinary cases, such as those concerning children, domestic abuse, intellectual property, and conditional personal information.
Minimize Potential Conflict With a Pre-Nuptial or Post-Nuptial Agreement
As a general matter, the more conflict there is between the parties, the more documents will be filed with the court, and the more information will be available to the public. As such, you can minimize the information available via court records by settling potentially contentious matters with a pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement. These agreements outline the specifics of many divorce-related topics, such as property division and alimony, thereby keeping those disputes out of the courts.
Handle Your Divorce Out of Court
The easiest and best way to keep every aspect of your divorce private is to handle your divorce outside of court. One of the most common ways to do this is to opt for mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process whereby the parties agree to work together to find solutions to their problems with the help of a trained mediator. There are several benefits to choosing mediation, namely that it generally is cheaper and less stressful than traditional litigation. And because it is not a public proceeding, the details of mediation proceedings are confidential.
Only Talk to Professionals
To minimize the amount of gossip surrounding your divorce, refrain from discussing it with anyone other than your immediate family members and professionals. This could include attorneys, psychologists, counselors, and clergy, among others, who are bound by a duty of confidentiality to their clients. It should also go without saying that you should use social media carefully until your divorce is finalized.
Maintain Your Privacy With Help from a Stockton Divorce Attorney
If you are concerned about your private affairs becoming public knowledge, you and your spouse should devise a privacy strategy before filing for divorce. For more information, please contact a Stockton divorce attorney at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau to discuss your case by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.