Two Ways To Protect Your Privacy During Divorce
Divorce filings are typically open to the public. All of the pleadings filed, all of the findings and rulings by the Judge, even the actual courtroom are open to the public. That means all of the intimate details of your finances and personal shortcomings are on display for the world to see. This is especially problematic for those in the banking, finance, defense or government fields. There are ways to protect your privacy in the event you are facing a divorce, separation, child-custody dispute or child support claim.
The first way to protect your privacy: Mediation.
The first way to protect your privacy is to stay out of court! By mediating and/or settling your disputes you can keep your pleadings generic, avoid any judicial findings or open courtroom proceedings. Mediation allows you and your spouse to privately decide how to settle your disputes. The mediator, a third party neutral, helps guide the discussion, reach agreements and write up a binding contract that is signed by both parties and becomes your legal agreement.
When choosing a mediator, look for a trained professional who is also an attorney. The role of an attorney and the role of a mediator are not the same. The training we receive as attorneys teaches us to advocate for our client’s position and negotiate the best possible outcome for our clients. Training for a mediator is all about finding a solution that works for the spouses. The law doesn’t matter and there really is no place for advocacy. So why is it important to choose an attorney mediator? The most important reason is that strict ethical guidelines govern attorneys, even when they are acting as mediators. These guidelines protect you! Additionally, whatever is agreed to by you and your spouse will be reduced to writing by the mediator and will become your governing document. All attorneys have training in drafting, understanding and interpreting contracts.
The very best family law mediator will be or have practiced family law in your jurisdiction, will have received at least 40 hours mediation training and will have experience mediating family law disputes.
What if my spouse won’t mediate?
The problem with mediation is that it requires two people who don’t typically like one another to try and agree on issues where they may be fundamentally adverse. It takes two people who are completely committed, eerily rational, and emotionally mature to successfully mediate. If one person isn’t all in, then you move on to the second way to protect your privacy.
The second way to protect your privacy: Sealed Files.
If you or your spouse have a security clearance or if there is any other reason you wish to keep your divorce proceedings private, have your attorney file with the court a request that your file be sealed. By sealing your proceedings your pleadings will no longer be public record. The judge’s findings will become part of your sealed, secure file. Your personal financials and other dirty laundry will be kept out of the public eye. This could save you considerable embarrassment and protect your career.
Getting a divorce doesn’t have to ruin you personally and professionally. Make sure you choose an experienced and competent Arizona Family Law Attorney. For a consultation with Modern Law, give us a call at 480-649-2905.