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Confidentiality And Divorce

December 6, 2023
Divorce Done Differently in PA
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No matter where someone works, confidentiality is one of the most common things that is talked about. When it comes to trade secrets or products in development, having confidentiality can be important to keeping specific information out of the public eye.

Why Would Someone Seek Confidentiality During a Divorce Case?

Many people do not know that the same concept can also apply to a divorce proceeding. Like most cases in the judicial system, any divorce case filed in the court will have a legal record available for public viewing. While having the legal records available to the public may not seem bad at first, these records for divorce cases may also contain very personal information of both parties.

A person may want to keep certain elements of their divorce confidential for several reasons. Some might not want certain aspects of their divorce available for their employer or employees to view. From the parties’ incomes presented to the courts to some very personal details of the marriage, it may be important for all aspects of the parties’ divorce to remain confidential to protect their livelihood and their reputation. For others, it may be important to keep divorce details confidential to protect their social status or public persona.

No matter the reason, having the option for confidentiality could be of great importance during a divorce. From financial income to unflattering events, the information in a divorce court filing that was meant to be private could cause future embarrassment to everyone named in these documents if revealed to the public. Thankfully, there are various ways to keep some aspects of a divorce hidden from the public.

Confidentiality Agreement

In short, a confidentiality agreement is a contract where only certain people or parties are allowed to view the contents of a document that has been deemed confidential. In the case of a divorce, information related to a private business, such as financial and client data, are some examples of information not meant for the public eye. If any such confidential information was released to the public, either by accident or on purpose, it could result in many other issues outside of the divorce case in the future.

During divorce litigation, to prevent the release of sensitive information that could have negative impacts on the parties themselves or within their business or social circle, any party may petition the judge in the case to seal the record of the case to protect confidential information that may be revealed as part of the divorce case from public view.

A confidentiality agreement is another common way to protect confidential information that may be revealed during a divorce case. When seeking a divorce, you should consider what confidential aspects of the divorce may need to be protected, such as a person’s career, business, or personal life.

Failure to ensure the parties’ confidentiality may result in fines or sanctions in addition to the cost of the divorce. Many of these elements may sound similar to an NDA for people familiar with the business world.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

The term NDA may sound familiar if a person has been in the business world long enough. Like a confidentiality agreement, a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA is an Agreement that prohibits parties to the agreement from leaking certain business or private information to the public. While an NDA is mostly used for trade secrets and product information, NDA could also become a tool utilized in a divorce proceeding.

Suppose the party’s business interest has an NDA. In that case, it may require the lawyers and parties to take extra precautions in handling business information being shared as part of the divorce action.

A couple may also create their own personal NDA to prevent any personal or private information from leaking out, which might cause harm to the lives of anyone close to the couple, including the couple’s children and close friends.

NDAs can also extend to financial and social media information, like with a confidentiality agreement.

The main difference between an NDA and a confidentiality agreement is that an NDA can be tailored to apply to either only part of a divorce or the entire divorce itself to prevent the potential harm that may result from revealing certain sensitive information during the divorce process. In addition, all parties involved in the case would need to create specific consequences as part of the agreement to dissuade the parties from breaking the NDA.

Limiting Social Media Presence

In the modern world, social media has become an important aspect of everyday life. To some, every personal detail of a person’s life is shared with the person’s friends list and possibly the public on social media. Despite the convenience, most people must take care of what is being shared online.

One of the major downsides when it comes to social media is not processing one’s thoughts before they are posted. Many social media posts can showcase a person’s raw and unprocessed thoughts. These unprocessed thoughts or feelings concerning a person’s divorce that are posted without a second thought can be extremely detrimental to a divorce. The damaging posts could cause more conflict in the proceedings or be used as evidence against the posting party.

With these potential damages in mind, the best option would be to avoid posting on social media until the divorce has concluded. Limiting or temporarily removing one’s social media presence allows both parties to be more organized and deliberate in what they post online. Taking this time allows parties to consider their posts’ effect on others, including family and friends, even after the divorce has concluded.

Lawyers’ Obligation to Protect Their Client’s Sensitive Information

Lawyers are bound by a code of ethics preventing them from sharing confidential information concerning their client’s case with anyone outside of their law firm other than the court or opposing counsel. In addition, a law firm or party must also take steps to protect the parties’ confidentiality by how the documents are stored or discarded.

Maintaining confidentiality during and after is an important aspect of divorce. No matter what aspects of a divorce are litigated, from the binding contracts of the party’s business to a person’s everyday posts on social media, maintaining confidentiality helps keep the divorce process in check and limits the potential damage of exposing personal and sensitive information to the public to protect all parties involved during the divorce as well as in the future.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at