Do you like to make your dirty laundry available for anyone to see? Read on if you would prefer to keep the details of your divorce private.
When you get divorced there is a final document that sums up your divorce signed by the judge called a divorce decree. A divorce decree is not a private document between you and your former spouse, but is a public record and in some places can be accessed on-line. A divorce decree normally lists of all of the assets and liabilities of both spouses. This information becomes a public record that can be found and copied by anyone. Would your business adversary, your neighbor, or a collection agency like to see all of your assets and liabilities?
There are ways to limit that disclosure by entering into an Agreement Incident to Divorce which is separate from the divorce decree. This agreement can divide all of your assets and liabilities without making all of your private financial information a public record.
Both spouses are frequently obligated to do something after the divorce as set forth in the divorce decree. Examples include the obligation of a spouse to pay off a debt incurred using joint credit. You may wish to include obligations like this in your Agreement Incident to Divorce to keep them private. You can sue your former spouse for breach of contract if they fail to meet their obligation, but note there is a delay between when they may breach the agreement and when you could get a new court to assist you to enforce the agreement.
You can put in the decree wording like "The Court approves the agreement and incorporates it by reference as part of this decree as if it were recited herein verbatim and orders the parties to do all things necessary to effectuate the agreement.", however it is our belief that it is not likely the court will enforce a breach of a divorce agreement with contempt. Matters regarding your children may need to be part of the decree to get the court to use contempt to get compliance.
If you need representation and wish to keep your financial affairs private, or are interested in finding out about one of our other practice areas, we invite you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with a member of our well-qualified staff.