It is common for partners or employees to sign some type of non-disclosure agreement. Often this is done to prevent company secrets from falling into the hands of competitors. Divorces may also use these types of agreements. Obviously, there are no company secrets, but one spouse may wish to keep financial information, details about the marriage or other sensitive information from becoming public knowledge.
How it works for a divorce
Couples filing for divorce may need to assemble documents that they can label as “confidential.” It typically means that the couple, their attorneys, expert witnesses and the judge (if there is litigation) or mediator (if there is mediation) review the information.
Both parties will sign an agreement, acknowledging that there will be consequences for sharing confidential information. This could mean an injunction or financial penalties. Once they finalize the divorce, any crucial documentation resides with the spouse wishing to protect it, but the other spouse’s attorney may want to retain the information for their records.
A spouse may be a public figure, cherish their privacy or have their reasons for doing it. Regardless, the benefits of using these agreements include:
- Public figures can keep their private lives private.
- It can prevent an angry spouse from posting negative information or photos online.
- It can prevent an ex-spouse from sharing gossip with friends and family.
- It can prevent the children from learning the information (potentially from a third-party source), perhaps harming the parent-child relationship.
- It can prevent information about a business from becoming public knowledge, perhaps endangering future deals or the company’s health.
It is best to put it in writing
Even marriages that end on good terms may wish to include a confidentiality agreement. This can safeguard against changes of heart later down the line when the former couple comes into conflict over an issue, such as modifying the custody agreement. An experienced family law attorney protects the client’s varied interests, which may include negotiating a confidentiality agreement.