If there is one person who knows more about you than anyone, it is probably your spouse. If you are like most people, you may not be important enough or well known enough, for many people to care if your soon-to-be ex spouse starts saying things about you, or your personal or business affairs.
But what if you do care? Or, what if information your spouse has, could bring real personal, reputational, or financial harm to you, if that information were disclosed? What if your professional reputation could be harmed by your spouse exposing information she knows about you?
Using a Nondisclosure Agreement
The solution to the problem is a nondisclosure agreement. We typically think of nondisclosure agreements as being commonplace in a business setting. Many people do not realize that a nondisclosure can also be used in a divorce or marital settlement agreement.
A court will not and cannot order a party to keep information he or she knows about the other spouse private or secret. That means that if you want a nondisclosure, it is something you will have to negotiate in the terms of a settlement agreement (which may be one incentive to try to settle your divorce, instead of letting it go to trial).
Circumstances Where a Nondisclosure Agreement May be Needed
When will you need a non-disclosure? That will depend on your particular situation, but common circumstances are when:
- Your ex-spouse may know information about your personal affairs that could affect your reputation in the general community, your profession, or the reputation of your business
- Your ex is particularly vengeful, and may try to say things–truthful or not–to harm you
- There is information in your divorce, true or not, that could get you, or your business in legal trouble, or which could affect your business’ ability to appeal to your client base, or which could affect you or your business’ reputation
- Your ex has intimate knowledge of your business, and how it operates–even if he or she isn’t likely to reveal that information to the public to harm you, he or she could use it on her own, to compete against you
- Your ex-spouse knows a lot about your business, and your business deals in private matters, sensitive topics, or has valuable trade secrets that you normally protect from public disclosure
In some cases, you may need to work with both a family law attorney, and a business law attorney, if there is a business involved.
Penalties for Disclosure
You can add provisions in your divorce settlement that include monetary penalties, or forfeiture of property obtained in the divorce, as penalties for disclosing information. You can even make it so the damages are automatic–that is, you will not have to show that a disclosure cost you any money or harm–the mere disclosure of information, by itself, will trigger the agreed-on penalty.
Contact our New Jersey divorce law attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC for help today in your divorce case.