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Protecting Your Privacy During Divorce

Marriage is personal and divorce is, too. Many couples – or at least some spouses – don’t want to “air their dirty laundry” in a public arena. You may feel like the details of your divorce are nobody’s business except yours and your spouse’s. But how can you protect your privacy during divorce?

Mediation has many benefits

Mediation – one of the methods of alternative dispute resolution — is an effective, affordable alternative to bringing family conflicts into the courtroom. In fact, mediation is mandated in Tennessee for divorce – with limited exceptions – as well as for disputes pertaining to child custody and visitation. Mediation provides a forum for each of the parties to discuss the issue at hand and to work to find a mutually agreeable solution. Among the many benefits of mediation are quicker turnaround, decreased cost, and a greater level of privacy as the personal details of the marriage are not aired out in an open courtroom. The things that are said during mediation are confidential between the two parties; but things said in a courtroom during a hearing or trial are public.

Keep personal details out of the realm of social media

Social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and others – are a popular method for keeping in touch with friends and family members near and far. But when you are in the process of divorcing – or even in the early stages of discussing the possibility – it is important to keep personal details regarding your marital situation out of the realm of social media. These forums are public and any information that is shared regarding your spouse, a night out with friends, or problems with your kids, can be used in a divorce proceeding.

Do not post any information regarding your situation, including negative comments regarding your spouse. Things put in writing can be shown on a big exhibit in a courtroom, and can be embarrassing and put you in a bad light in front of the judge. Do not send out posts or messages when you’re angry. Doing so can negatively impact many of the issues of a divorce, including child custody determinations. Maybe consider just putting your comments into an email to yourself, and then look at it the next day; after you’ve had a chance to sleep on it you might be better able to judge if it’s appropriate to send to someone else or to post. Some lawyers advise their clients to close their Facebook accounts and all other social media accounts while their case is pending. That way, clients are not able to post potentially damaging material.

Change your passwords

In spite of the fact that you and your spouse may have shared everything with one another – bank accounts, personal information, email addresses – it is wise to consider changing some of your personal passwords before you begin any divorce discussions. Changing passwords for your personal email address can protect your privacy. Your attorney will want to know that when they email you, your spouse is not going to have access to your private attorney-client communication.

You don’t need to prove fault to divorce in Tennessee under certain circumstances

In Tennessee, you can obtain a divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences provided you can reach an equitable agreement on the terms of the divorce. In that case there is no need to prove fault on the part of either of the spouses. Divorcing pursuant to agreement keeps personal details of your relationship, and many of the details about your finances and other matters between you, your spouse, and your divorce attorney or mediator; only the required details would need to be put in the agreements and ultimately approved by the judge and made a part of your final divorce decree. Of course, if you go to mediation and still cannot come to agreements that resolve your case, you will have to go to trial to get your divorce case resolved. There are many very personal details that will be talked about in the open courtroom. And in the final divorce decree, the judge will be required to specifically state their findings about every issue, including those details about your relationship with your spouse that were talked about in the courtroom.

Entrust an experienced divorce attorney

Divorce is an emotional, personal process. And it can be difficult and downright uncomfortable to discuss details of your marriage with strangers. I am Franklin, Tennessee divorce and family law attorney Judy A. Oxford. I work hard to guide you through even the most tumultuous divorce, to try to achieve the best possible outcome in your divorce situation. I handle every case personally, working to try to help you resolve your case in the best way. To arrange a confidential consultation to discuss whether divorce is right for you, and your available options, contact my office at 615-791-8511 or contact me online.