PROTECTING PRIVACY IN HIGH-NET-WORTH DIVORCE
Divorce is challenging and emotionally charged for participants, regardless of the size and/or scope of the marital assets involved. However, there are certain families that have significantly more to lose than most amidst a public proceeding, such as families with very high net worth, multi-generational wealth, or significant business assets, as well as public figures and those who hold positions of great economic or political power and influence.
For such clients, reputation management and privacy rise to the forefront as primary considerations/objectives when weighing the considerable drawbacks to a public litigation against a more comprehensive approach that puts a premium on protecting the parties’ privacy. Examples of such an approach include opting for mediation or binding arbitration—which are both private process—as opposed to litigation in court which is public.
It is critical for clients with sensitive and vulnerable situations to explicit identify their privacy and reputation management risks at the outset of the process and work with their attorneys to address this as a critical issue. An experienced divorce attorney can design strategy, tactics and a dispute resolution process to insulate against and/or mitigate the risks of unwanted and/or negative publicity.
The Connecticut Divorce Lawyers at Needle Cuda are well versed in navigating high-net-worth divorce cases, maintaining maximum privacy and resolving sensitive matters.
Tactics for protecting and maintaing privacy in Connecticut Divorce
Divorce filings and proceeding are public records in Connecticut. Proactive steps can be taken to protect privacy and/or limit exposure of certain types of information that can otherwise be exposed in litigation. Sensitive information for which protection might be sought can include proprietary financial information related to a private family business; details related to personal income and assets; custody and psychological evaluations; details regarding alleged substance abuse, marital infidelity, and abuse; as well as behavioral, medical, victim-related, or criminal information of the minor children, etc.
Court Records – FAQs
What records are sealed by statute?
The following types of court records (communications) are sealed by statute:
- Psychologist and patient;
- Psychiatrist and patient;
- Abattered women’s or sexual assault counselor and the victim;
- Judicial Branch employee and employee assistance program counselor;
- Physician, surgeon or health care provider and patient;
- Marital and family therapist and person consulting such therapist; and;
- Social worker and person consulting such social worker;
A “Privacy Plan” in a Connecticut divorce can include:
- Prenuptial agreement or Postnuptial Agreement to limit the issues subject to litigation in court from the outset;
- Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements to restrict a party’s right to share sensitive documents obtained in the divorce process, g. to protect against press leaks;
- Strategy, tactics, and negotiation posture designed to avoid public hearings and/or a trial;
- Opt for mediation or binding arbitration (which are both private processes) instead of litigation in open court;
- File motions with the court to seal certain records, the entire court file, or even the courtroom for trial;
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure provisions in Prenuptial Agreements
- Confidentiality Clauses: Confidentiality clauses in prenuptial agreements stipulate that the details of the agreement remain private and cannot be disclosed to third parties, including family, friends, and the media. This provision ensures that the intimate financial aspects of the marriage and potential divorce remain confidential. Violating this clause can result in legal consequences, including financial penalties;
- Non-Disclosure (NDA) Clauses: NDAs within prenuptial agreements further safeguard privacy by prohibiting either party from sharing confidential information about the marriage or divorce. These clauses are especially useful when sensitive business interests or trade secrets are involved. An NDA can prevent a spouse from using confidential information against their partner or disclosing it to competitors;
How to Seal Records in a Connecticut Divorce
In order to petition the court to seal certain divorce records, you must:
- File a motion with the court seeking permission to file the record under seal, together with a memorandum explaining to the court why the records should be sealed;
- “Lodge,” or submit, the records with the court upon filing the motion;
- Attend a public court hearing to justify the request to seal the record;
- Prove to the court that the reason(s) to seal the record outweighs the public’s interest in free and open access to court records.
Common reasons to request sealed records:
- Safeguard sensitive information regarding minors;
- Keep a party’s medical records from public view;
- Protect victims of assault/domestic violence;
- Secure business information not privy to the public, such as trade secrets;
In some Connecticut divorces, reputation management and protection of privacy can be a primary concern and consideration. The Connecticut Divorce Lawyers at Needle Cuda are dedicated to safeguarding the interests and privacy of their high-net-worth clients, and they have the expertise to petition the court to seal records when necessary.
Contact the Westport Connecticut Divorce Lawyers at Needle Cuda by calling 203-557-9500