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Can you get a confidentiality agreement when divorcing?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2024 | Divorce

No one wants details of their divorce widely shared without their consent. Partially, because no spouse behaves perfectly in any marriage, and one’s worst moments and actions can surface as evidence in a contentious divorce – and perhaps be misrepresented or exaggerated.

If you own a business, are a partner in a professional practice or are well-known in your community or your chosen field, private details from your divorce can harm your reputation – and by extension your career. If you have kids, they may hear about them (or some version of them) from friends or even online. If you own a business or are an entrepreneur, your competitors can use this to their advantage. As such, it may be to your advantage to employ a confidentiality agreement as part of your divorce process.

What does a confidentiality agreement involve?

If you don’t trust your soon-to-be ex to refrain from talking or writing about your divorce, you can ask the court to allow you to get a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement (NDA). These agreements generally state that neither party will disclose any information from the divorce. They may detail who can see particular documents and how they must be treated (marked confidential, shredded after using and so forth). The consequences can include a contempt of court citation and financial penalties.

You may even be required to get a confidentiality agreement if you’re a partner in a business or practice and your partnership agreement requires it for any proprietary information that you have to disclose during your divorce.

The agreement should precede any exchange of information or testimony

If you’re considering asking for a confidentiality agreement or you need to have one, it’s important to do that before any information is exchanged with your soon-to-be ex and their team or provided to the court and before anyone is deposed or testifies in court.

It’s not always a given that a judge will approve a request for a confidentiality agreement. You’ll need to make a solid case for why it’s necessary, since it does involve more work for court staff, both legal teams and others. With solid legal guidance, you can make a strong case for the terms you need to be included in an agreement and protect your personal and financial privacy accordingly.