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Can you get a confidentiality agreement for your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Divorce

Many divorcing spouses agree that they want to keep the details of their divorce as private as possible – particularly if they have children or are well-known in their community or their profession. It generally does no one any good if they’re taking their case to the “court of public opinion,” even if that’s simply their friends on social media.

In some cases, however, the stakes are very high – at least for one spouse. Their relationship with their soon-to-be ex may not be amicable enough that they trust them to stay off social media or not to let some of the details of the proceedings slip to someone who could use them to cause trouble.

What do these agreements address?

Increasingly, people are seeking confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements for their divorces. These agreements generally prohibit either spouse from sharing information disclosed in the divorce – whether verbally or in documents. Non-compliance with the agreement can be considered contempt of court and come with fines and other sanctions.

A confidentiality agreement that’s part of a divorce generally applies to both spouses, even if one needs it more than the other. It typically stipulates that the parties won’t share details of the divorce or information disclosed as part of the process. 

Generally, the agreements are more likely to be approved by a judge if one or both spouses could suffer professional harm if information is disclosed. For example, if a spouse owns a business that depends on them having a good reputation, they likely don’t want things like adultery, substance abuse issues or other personal details known publicly. Even having the financial information they must produce as part of the proceedings could prove advantageous to their competitors – or frighten off investors or customers.

In some cases, they’re required by employers

Some businesses require partners and other executives to get confidentiality agreements if they divorce to keep any proprietary and sensitive financial information from getting out when they make their required financial disclosures to the other side and to the court. Non-compliance with the agreement can be considered contempt of court and come with fines and other sanctions.

If you believe you need a confidentiality agreement, it’s best to discuss it with your legal team as early as possible – before any sensitive or protected information is shared. A judge will need to approve the request, so it’s important to make a strong case for it. With experienced legal guidance, you improve your chances of obtaining the agreement you need.