Divorcing couples often have many issues that they have to resolve in order to end their marriage. Setting terms for asset division, as well as addressing child custody issues, can become complicated quickly and result in additional stress. One of the most commonly overlooked concerns about a protracted, court-based divorce is the fact that the records of your divorce will become public.
The things that you and your spouse say about one another can become accessible to everyone from professional rivals to your children as adults. Mediation is a potential solution that both empowers you to get the outcome in your divorce you need and protect you and your privacy. If you worry about how public records of your divorce proceedings could impact your future, it may be time to consider mediation.
Your court testimony often results in airing dirty laundry publicly
When divorces become contentious, it is common for the divorcing spouses to rake one another over the proverbial coals in court. Every family is unique, but common complaints brought to light in court include spousal abuse, neglect of children, addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling, and infidelity.
Depending on your profession, these kinds of accusations could have an impact on future success in your career. Unfortunately, anything you or your ex say as part of testimony in court will likely end up accessible via public records unless the judge agrees to seal records for the safety of your family.
Sealing records is rare, so you should assume that your divorce records will become accessible to anyone who wants them. It may make a lot more sense to address marital issues outside of the courtroom and file an uncontested divorce instead.
Mediation typically remains private
When you go to mediation, both you and your spouse will have your own attorneys, and you will work with a neutral third-party to find solutions for all the outstanding issues in your divorce. Compromise is important to successful mediation, as is focusing on priorities and not rehashing the issues from your marriage.
Mediation is a safer place to explore issues with your spouse than the courtroom. You can discuss infidelity and how you feel it should impact the asset division process or issues with substance abuse and how you want that reflected in the child custody agreement. Provided that both you and your spouse work together, you can set the terms for your own divorce.
You have the right to file an uncontested divorce. The courts will only need to review the terms you set for legal compliance and finalize the divorce for you. Unless there are legal issues in the future, the records of what you say in mediation will remain confidential and sealed. For couples concerned about their privacy, mediation may be the best way to resolve outstanding issues in a divorce.