In a digital era where seemingly nothing is sacred, there remains certain life events so sensitive that public gaze does not feel savoury. Divorce is an example of this.
Even for couples who chose to live their lives in the world of social media, the breakdown of a marriage can be profoundly stressful. It is understandable that they seek to deal privately with divorce, especially where there are children involved.
A degree of privacy during this time allows couples to maintain their dignity whilst finding their feet in what is their new reality. The less public airing of details about the marriage breakdown in the process, the better.
How do you keep your divorce private in a world of social media?
Whilst pertinent for high profile individuals, such as the Kardashian-Wests, privacy is equally important for individuals of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Without doubt, the Kardashian-Wests are being guided by experienced lawyers, adept at keeping the press at bay. They also reportedly had a pre-nuptial agreement in place which will contain confidentiality restrictions. Those confidentiality provisions will possibly cover what can or cannot be published by the couple (and those close to them) on social media and in the press.
In the absence of such an agreement, some time away from social media when going through a separation is advised. It is also important to discuss with family members what you expect of them and what information you are and are not comfortable they pass onto others.
How do you keep what you have agreed out of the public domain?
Some couples agree the majority of matters between themselves and only require their lawyer to deal with the formal divorce process. At the other end of the spectrum, all matters can be negotiated civilly between lawyers on their clients' behalf.
It depends on where you divorce in the world whether the details of an agreement can remain private. In Scotland it is possible for all matters relating to children and finances to be negotiated privately and recorded in a formal Agreement document. This leaves only the formal 'rubber stamped' divorce decree to be sought from Court, avoiding the need to divulge information relating to the settlement, even to the Court itself.
Wherever possible, the aim should be to keep matters out of Court. In Scotland, if a case does progress to a full evidential hearing in 'open court' then matters do become public record. Sometimes Court decisions are published with names anonymised, but it is often still easy enough to tell who the case is about. By all accounts, this is a public process and often one of the main reasons for keeping matters out of Court is privacy
What about details about children?
Divorcing couples with children remain a family notwithstanding their separation. The Kardashian-West divorce filing indicates that joint custody of their four children is sought. The word 'custody' is not in our lexicon for matters relating to children, we instead refer to 'care' arrangements – or 'residence and contact' in strict legal terms. In the majority of circumstances, care arrangements are agreed without involving a Court. If that is the case, there is no reason for the care arrangement or details about children to be in the public domain.
The divorce of a high-profile couple will always attract attention and it is testament to the lawyers involved that the details of this divorce are remaining as private as possible.