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Nobody really likes the idea of having their personal business trotted out for public discourse. That idea can be significantly more disturbing when you hold a prominent position in your community. The unpleasant details that may come out during a divorce can damage your personal reputation and — if you own a business — hurt your company and your business partners.

You may have options, however, that can help you keep your divorce private. Couples are generally free to make any kind of agreement they want regarding confidentiality.

If you haven’t even gotten married yet, you may consider asking your intended spouse for a prenuptial agreement that includes a confidentiality clause. You can spell out exactly what can (and cannot) be said in public about your relationship or your split, should one ever happen. If you’re already married, you can do the same thing via a postnuptial agreement.

What if you’re already headed toward a divorce? It may not be easy to secure a confidentiality agreement if your spouse is angry, but you can make some of the following arguments:

  • Sharing the details of your split with the world will likely harm both your reputation and social standing. The people around you will take sides, and that will do nobody any good.
  • Your children could be harmed by allowing the details of your split to go public. Kids can be cruel, and they may hear their parents gossiping about your divorce and carry tales that will only damage your kids later.
  • If your business suffers because of the damage to your reputation, both of you are likely to suffer financially. After all, your business provides the income that you need in order to pay support, and your spouse likely has some financial stake in the company.

If you want to keep your private life truly private, talk to your attorney about your options. A divorce doesn’t have to require having all of your personal information out in the public.