ClickCease Don’t Let Your Divorce Hurt Your Reputation – SplitEasy

Don’t Let Your Divorce Hurt Your Reputation

Don’t Let Your Divorce Hurt Your Reputation

Recently, Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec had his divorce case splashed all over the news and social media with salacious details regarding his affair, his girlfriend, allegations of sexual assault and extortion and his personal net worth.

Going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating.  But it does not need to be public and cause embarrassment to the family.  

How to safeguard your reputation when going through a divorce 

There are many steps to take to protect and safeguard your reputation during a divorce.

For one, a decision can be made to not use the public court system but rather hire a private judge called an arbitrator. In fact, mediation/arbitration is extremely popular in Toronto for divorcing families with significant net worth. They recognize the importance of privacy, both for their own financial protection, but also to prevent their children from suffering any harm. 

We are fortunate in Toronto to have many very capable family law arbitrators who can provide swift, fair and balanced adjudications, while keeping the entire experience private and confidential. Having said that, given the right of appeal, confidentiality could be compromised where one of the spouses decides to appeal the arbitrator‘s decision to the court.  This is rare.

Obviously, divorce proceedings in court create a pubic record for anyone to access. In some cases, one spouse will deliberately use the court system in order to leverage the issue of personal embarrassment in his or her favour.  For cases in court, either spouse can ask for a court order to protect their identity. Judges can make orders changing the name on the case to only initials. This applies to both the spouses and the children. Judges can also seal the file so that there is no public access to it. Also, the case can be transferred to a remote city so as to make it less accessible to the public and media agencies.  

As for public relations, it is very important for spouses to recognize that they have control over the messages that are released. In some cases, the spouses, with the help of their lawyers, mediators and advisors, develop a unified message that they share with everybody – their children, their family, their neighbours, their friends and, most importantly, the media in the case of wealthy and celebrity families. This is not only morally appropriate, but it is also very good business sense.  

Once the common message is formed, then the message must be communicated in a methodical and planned manner. This is where lawyers, counsellors, mediators and advisors are able to provide tremendous assistance. How, when and where the children, the family, the social circle and the public is supplied with information is most critical.

Divorce and family breakdown are inevitable. It affects nearly half of all marriages. Wealthy and celebrity families are not immune. When it happens [not if it happens], it is necessary to develop a communication and public relations plan. Sometimes, this is a mutual plan with the other spouse. Sometimes, joint messaging is not possible, so, we arrange our own communication plan.

A final note. Be extremely aware of social media and viral activity. Assign one team member the responsibility of monitoring and managing the social media activity on your divorce.

In my family law practice, I regularly advise high net worth clients on how to message their divorce, avoid publicity, limit any embarrassment to them or their family and keep their personal lives private.  

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