You do not have to be a celebrity to be in the public eye. Members of the media, political figures, business owners and executives, city council and school board members, and religious leaders are examples of people who are often well-known in their communities. Maintaining personal privacy in these roles can be difficult, especially during a divorce.

Not only is it uncomfortable to feel like everyone around you knows the difficulties that you are facing; it also might present a risk to your career or reputation. If you have children, preserving your family’s privacy may also be important to them as well. Here are a few strategies that might allow you to retain as much privacy as possible throughout the divorce process.

Sealing documents in divorce litigation

In court, the worth of personal property, including any investments, business interests and debts, becomes publicly available information through court records. Michigan courts need a compelling reason before it allows parties to file documents such as divorce papers under seal (MCR 8.119). If your file contains sensitive information related to your business, children or another matter, your attorney can help you request a seal of that information.

Negotiating a settlement

Many families understandably prefer to keep all their financial details to themselves. While litigation can offer some benefits in high-conflict divorces, reaching a settlement outside of court may be in your best interests if privacy is a significant concern. Negotiated settlements do not enter the public record.

Managing communications

One of the most effective ways to keep personal details of your marriage out of the public eye is to choose your communication carefully. Avoid posting about the divorce or relationship on social media, and limit related discussions with friends, family and colleagues.

Depending on your situation, you may choose to craft a public statement if necessary, but this is a very rare action. It is usually best to avoid discussing any part of divorce publicly.

If privacy is important to you and your children, your attorney can help you find ways to protect it.

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