If you are facing a divorce, it’s important to understand how to protect your privacy during this difficult time. In most typical, litigated divorces with a courtroom trial, all the documents from your case and even the courtroom doors are open to the public. A divorce trial can bring up all the intimate details of your life, and the last thing you want is members of the public listening in. This can be especially problematic if you hold a job where personal privacy is important, such as a government or military job, banking or finance, or other highly sensitive roles.
Even if you hold an average job, it still makes sense to guard your privacy during a divorce. Here are some ways you can do that:
If you and your spouse both agree, you can settle your divorce through mediation rather than a courtroom trial. That way, you can settle your differences privately and leave the messy details out of the documents you file with the court. When you use a mediator, your attorney can review the agreement and help advise you on your next steps. The things you discuss during a mediation session are completely private, so you can trust that the general public will not be privy to the intimate details of your life.
Mediation can also be a faster, less expensive route. It can also help you and your spouse learn productive ways to work out disagreements in the future.
FIling divorce documents under seal
If mediation does not resolve the issues between you and your spouse and you end up taking your case to trial, you still have options to protect your privacy. In Tennessee, all documents filed with the clerk of the courts are public records unless they are protected by a statute, rule or court order. However, you can make a request to the judge to grant a motion to seal the documents of your case. You must present a compelling reason for your records to be sealed.
Protect your personal privacy
During a divorce, it’s especially important to protect your personal information. Here are some tips for protecting your privacy:
- Update your passwords. Use a password manager to create unique passwords for all of your accounts to keep your information secure.
- Update your security settings. Take a look at your social media settings and make sure your information is not public. Consider taking a break from social media while your divorce is pending.
- Be careful what you text and email. Email accounts are not as private as you may think. Your ex-spouse or anyone involved in your case can easily turn anything you email against you later on down the road. A good rule of thumb is: If you don’t want anyone to read it, don’t email it.
- Open your own accounts. If you and your spouse share accounts, safe deposit boxes, or P.O. boxes, it’s time to get your own accounts. If your mail comes to a house where your spouse lives, open a P.O. box to direct your mail to instead. Be upfront and honest with your attorney about all of these decisions as you make them.
At every step of the process, your attorney can help you best protect your privacy and the privacy of your loved ones. To speak with an attorney, give us a call today.