Divorce and Privacy

How private is your information after filing for divorce? Divorce and privacy come to mind after former Florida governor Charlie Crist announced his divorce from his wife Carole.

After nine years of marriage, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has filed for divorce. For a career politician like Crist, divorce and privacy are important for career survival.

The former governor has taken the right tone: “I think the world of Carole. She’s an amazing person. It just didn’t work out for us,” the former governor told the Tampa Bay Times. “I wish all the best for her.”

Crist, 60, said the divorce should have no impact on his service. He and Carole, 47, own a condo in downtown St. Petersburg, and details about whether he will continue to live there have yet to be worked out.

Divorce exacts a heavy financial and emotional toll. For many people, including businessmen, politicians, celebrities and others, this means preserving your good name and legacy for future generations.

New York and several other states try to protect the privacy of litigants by granting document access only to litigants and counsel. This might create a false sense of confidence for clients though, because sometimes the other party leaks information purposefully.

I have written about the topic of divorce privacy before. It is very important to protect the privacy of parties to a divorce, and prevent identity theft, especially when Florida court rules make disclosure of sensitive financial information mandatory.

Some initial steps you can take to protect your divorce privacy include changing the passwords to your computer log-in screen, email accounts, social media sites, such as Linkedin and Facebook, and even your voicemail at work and at home. Change these passwords will help to keep your information private.

Florida recently adopted a confidentiality rule to better protect social security and bank account numbers for instance. But Florida court filings are not private. Privacy – and confidentiality of court filings – are easily overlooked issues when filing for divorce, and something you should be aware of in deciding to file.

The Miami Herald article is here.