Couples from all walks of life may want to keep the details of their divorce private.
After all, few of those who live in the communities of Bergen County would really want the public delving into the details of their finances and their personal lives.
Especially during a divorce, these details can be quite embarrassing or sensitive.
However, privacy may be of special concern to high net-worth couples in New Jersey.
Aside from having very involved finances, many of these couples are also well connected in their communities.
They also may be business owners or professionals. Both are lines of work where reputation counts for a great deal.
If information about their divorce or personal life comes to public light, they may face some damage to their professional and public lives and even a loss of income.
Divorces are a matter of public record in New Jersey
In New Jersey, divorce proceedings are a matter of public record.
What this means is that members of the public, including the news media, can usually get access to divorce records and review and copy them. On a related point, the public also can usually attend divorce hearings.
There may be a few exceptions, so a couple should speak to a family law attorney about their options if they are worried about privacy.
Mediation or other alternative dispute resolution may be a good option for privacy
Divorce records include a lot of information. If there is a hearing, for example, the record includes all testimony as well as all exhibits, including financial balance sheets and the like.
It can, in some cases, be difficult to keep this sensitive personal and financial information out of the public eye.
Privacy is one reason why many high net-worth couples consider mediation as an option for resolving a divorce.
During mediation, a couple may have a detailed discussion about their positions. However, these discussions are controversial and they are not aired in court. They will remain private.
Likewise, it is possible to keep some if not most financial and other details of an agreement out of public court records by using mediation.
While mediation is not the best option for all cases, a high net-worth couple who has concerns about privacy should consider whether it is an alternative worth exploring.