Getting divorced in New Jersey means exchanging financial information with your spouse. But if you own your own business, a lot of that data will be confidential — not something that you want to be disclosed in an open court proceeding. In fact, you likely have a legal obligation to your partners to keep trade secrets and other information private. But you also don’t want to be accused of hiding assets from your ex.
There is a way of balancing both responsibilities using a confidentiality agreement. Using the proper scope and careful thought, a confidentiality agreement can protect your company while still letting you fulfill your obligation to disclose all marital and non-marital assets.
How a divorce confidentiality agreement works
The agreement can state that certain documents will be labeled “Confidential” and that nobody besides the divorcing spouses, their attorneys and others directly involved in the divorce, such as the judge, will have access to them. Any party allowed to see confidential documents will not be allowed to share that information with friends, loved ones or the press, or post the information on social media. The agreement will also lay out the consequences for violating its terms, which might involve financial penalties.
For most business owners, protecting their company’s private data is enough. But if you are a celebrity, politician or high-profile business owner, you might want to extend your confidentiality agreement to include personal information too. Many prominent people going through divorce do not want things like their personal checking accounts or credit card statements showing up on the evening news. For most people, this is not an issue.
Business owners have special challenges in getting divorced, but it is possible to get through a divorce while still preserving your company’s health.