Divorce Confidential: For Maximum Discretion, Fine Tune Agreements Before Going to Court
Some of the highest-profile divorces occur in California, where all eyes are turned towards celebrities and Silicon Valley millionaires – yet the sunshine state isn’t somewhere it’s easy to shield your private affairs. In California, unlike New York, members of the public only have to show up to the courthouse to obtain – and photocopy – divorce and financial records. So what do high profile, high net-worth people involved in a complex divorce do to keep their affairs as discreet as possible? In California, high profile couples often choose to hire private judges. The advantage of this option is to hold a trial at a location that’s known only to the parties, but if for some reason information gets out, technically the public can attend these trials too. Whatever happens in litigation is eventually public record, even if the proceedings are held privately.
Parties in a divorce can request to have parts of their divorce proceedings sealed but the judge will weigh up the damage to one party from public disclosure against the presumption that the court records are open to the public. In addition to this, request for privacy must be “narrowly tailored,” which means parties can’t request all records closed just because it will make them more comfortable. The court will seal off no more information than necessary to protect specific concerns. Some of these reasons can include the need to protect children and the need to protect proprietary business interests. Ultimately it is in the hands of the judge to decide, making litigation a risky option for entrepreneurs developing proprietary technology or for people who are desperate to keep their kids out of the spotlight. In one very well-known example, Brad Pitt’s recent request to seal information regarding child custody arrangements was denied by a judge.
Angelina Jolie’s lawyer Laura Wasser, who is well-known for maintaining a high level of discretion in divorce, recommends that parties spend most of their time working out an agreement before ever filing divorce papers and going before a judge. (http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-laura-wasser-hollywood-divorce-lawyer/) Knowing where both parties stand and having a roadmap for how a divorce will proceed makes the process more predictable and the information that is released more carefully controlled by the parties. Couples who follow Wasser’s recommendation might want to try mediation, a process tailor-made for coming to confidential agreements that take into account a complex array of issues. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we specialize in working out more complicated divorces in which couples may need to split business assets or have delicate childcare considerations. We come to each case prepared to meet the challenges of complex lives with the utmost of care and most importantly, complete confidentiality and discretion.
It also bears repeating that discretion need not, in fact, cost as much as hiring a private judge: mediation is cheaper than litigation. Divorce mediators are skilled legal professionals who are experts in crafting agreements that take into account complex financial and childcare arrangements. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we perform extensive analysis of assets, liquidity, cash flow, and equalization options, which includes child support and spousal support. We also offer the only mediated business valuation of any mediation firm in California. We can help divorcing partners splitting a business to come to an optimum arrangement. In addition, we are developing a mathematical algorithm that uses fair division, game theory, and psychoanalysis, drilling down into both conscious and unconscious preferences and needs. Please get in touch to find out how we can help you make your divorce as discreet as possible.