Divorce: How public do you want it to be?
Divorce can happen to anyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender or social class. While we try to keep it as private as possible, if you are a public figure, social influencer or community leader, divorce can be quite a public event.
- If you go to family court, anyone can sit in the courtroom and watch your case unfold. That’s not even the worst part – the details of your separation, every small detail, become online public record. Databases such as CanLII publish decisions in as little as two working days following distribution from court! Anyone, at any time in the future, can read through pages of your life – pages that you didn’t even get to write. Anyone – your children, neighbours, teachers, work colleagues, new partners or someone looking for “dirt”.
- Litigation is an intrusive process, and to many families, it can feel like a violation of their privacy. If you are a public figure, there is no doubt that some of the information can be used in nefarious self-serving ways. If you are a partner in a business, financial portfolios, business valuation reports, shareholder agreements and even client ledgers may be included as documents in the divorce process with the possibility of public exposure. In undesirable hands, it may harm more than your reputation – business relationships may also be severely impacted. Sensitive financial information may end up in the hands of competitors, staff or general public.
- Similarly, if you have any leadership roles in your community, you may want to keep intimate family details away from public consumption. Anything from extra-marital affairs to your children’s school and bedtime routines can become online public record, not to mention fodder for the latest gossip! Continuing in your current role may not only be awkward, embarrassing and frustrating for you, but also for your children.
Why Divorce Mediation is the Popular Choice
When you engage in mediation, the details of your divorce are private and remain private. You have the same opportunities to go through full financial disclosure, business valuations and discuss relevant details of your co-parenting relationship. The big difference is that, in contrast to court which is public, mediation is a private process where the information exchanged is privileged and confidential. This also allows couples to speak freely and focus on the issues at hand without the fear of private becoming public.
The choice is yours. The possibility of public exposure or a private and confidential process. Knowing your options and making the right decision for yourself, your family and your business can save a world of headache and heartache when private becomes public.