privacy laptop concept

In a world where celebrities do tell-all interviews about their relationship issues, and most people in the Albuquerque area voluntarily allow their every move to be tracked by their cell phone, deciding to keep your personal life private sounds quaint. 

But there are many reasons to play your cards close to your chest, particularly if you are a high net-worth individual contemplating divorce. Attorney Bob Matteucci of Matteucci Family Law understands this desire for discretion, and can help you end your marriage while protecting you and your family’s privacy. 

Why is Privacy Important in High-Asset Divorce?

Our culture of oversharing can make it difficult to keep things to yourself, but there are many reasons you may wish to do so. 

For some, it may simply be a matter of personal preference. You may value your privacy and wish to protect yourself from the scrutiny and judgment of others. Or you may have concerns about the potential consequences of sharing too much information, such as damage to your reputation or harm to your other relationships. 

If you have significant assets, you may worry their value will be impacted by news of your divorce. Or you may even fear bad actors will try to take advantage of you or your family — or heaven forbid try to harm one of you — during this difficult time. 

Whatever your reasons, the decision to handle your divorce as discreetly as possible is valid. 

Is Privacy Possible if Your Divorce Will be a Public Record? 

In the past, New Mexico residents who wanted to file for divorce had to prove to the court that their marriage had failed because their partner wronged them. The person seeking a divorce had to present evidence proving their partner had treated them cruelly, abandoned them, or committed adultery if they wanted to split up. 

Today, New Mexico only allows residents to file no-fault divorces. You simply inform the court you want to separate and get a divorce. Presenting evidence of misconduct or misbehavior is completely unnecessary. However, information about your marriage — or at least your marital status — will still become part of the public record. 

Under New Mexico law, all divorces must be processed by the family court system. All this means is that your divorce will be approved by a judge and a record of that proceeding will be entered into the public record. At a minimum, people will be able to determine when you filed for divorce, and when your divorce was finalized. 

Whether more details about your divorce are disclosed is up to you and your former partner. If you cannot get along, or come to any sort of agreement about the division of your assets, you can choose to contest the divorce and duke it out in court. The nastier the fight, or the more money at stake, the more the media is going to try and make it a public spectacle. 

Wanting to keep things quiet is an incentive to come to the negotiating table and hammer out an agreement you and your former partner can live with. Once a deal is struck, it can include a confidentiality clause that prevents anyone who knows the details from discussing them in public. 

Divorcing Out of the Public Eye

Even if you and your soon-to-be-former partner do not see eye to eye on the division of your assets or who should get primary custody of your children, you can still settle your differences behind closed doors. A popular way to do this is through settlement facilitation. 

In a settlement facilitation, a neutral third party – usually a retired judge or an experienced New Mexico family law attorney – will work with you, your former partner, and your lawyers to negotiate a settlement. 

The facilitator doesn’t decide who is right and who is wrong, but instead helps you come to an agreement. How this usually works is you and your former partner will set up camp in separate conference rooms. The facilitator will go from one room to the other to talk with both sides and understand the issues. Then, the facilitator will get to work negotiating a settlement. 

Settlement facilitation is an effective way to navigate difficult disputes without heading to court and having them play out for everyone to see. 

Bob Matteucci has served as the settlement facilitator for a number of New Mexico couples with business interests or other high value assets that must be addressed in their divorce. His business background and MBA degree give him unique insight into how best to resolve these disputes. 

Can You Seal Divorce Records in New Mexico? 

Under New Mexico law, court records that are not sealed by state statute may be sealed by an official court order. This includes divorce proceedings. 

However, judges are reluctant to seal divorce records. Unless you are the victim of domestic violence, or you run such an important business that information about your divorce would impact the state economy, you are better off not wasting your time asking for your records to be sealed. 

Is it Possible to File for Divorce Under a Pseudonym in New Mexico? 

Sometimes the New Mexico courts will allow a party to file suit under a pseudonym in order to protect their identity. But this is not done in divorces. 

Additional Tips for Keeping the Details of Your High-Asset Divorce Under Wraps 

If you are concerned about keeping the details of your high-asset divorce private, be sure to mention that to your attorney. It is much easier to proactively keep information a secret than it is to reel it back in once it has already been disclosed. 

There are also a couple of important steps you can take to keep your personal life private:

  • Make sure you have strong and unique passwords for all online accounts, especially those containing financial or legal information. And this should go without saying, but be sure to change your passwords if your former partner knows them as well. 
  • Don’t post anything on social media you wouldn’t want aired in open court. You may also want to adjust your privacy settings to limit access to your personal profiles before your case is filed. 

Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion 

Keeping information about your relationship status and family affairs as quiet as possible can provide some comfort as you navigate this difficult time in your life. Your divorce cannot be a complete secret, but the nitty gritty details can be if you and your partner are willing to work together to keep your personal information private. 

If you have questions or concerns about what the public will be able to discover about your divorce, Matteucci Family Law is here for you. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced family law team.