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What Is an Anonymous Divorce?

By Sheryl Rentz on March 19, 2018

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Anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you that it is a highly emotional time. Now imagine the added stress of millions of people knowing about your divorce and talking about it constantly on TV, radio, and social media. That’s an issue high-profile couples have to deal with when they split up. Every salacious and embarrassing detail of your marriage is now common knowledge. If you have children, they can do a quick Google search and find out things that you may want to keep hidden. This is driving a lot of high-profile couples to request an anonymous divorce.

Anonymous divorces are not listed in the public records like normal divorces. This stops reporters (or anyone for that matter) from knowing that you filed for a divorce, and the details won’t be available either…theoretically.

In Pennsylvania, this is called having your case under seal.

The Pros and Cons of Anonymous Divorces

Even if you’re not a high-profile celebrity, you can still opt to keep your divorce private. You or your spouse may be well-known in the community, or you just don’t want nosey family members or friends being able to find out information about your private life.

Whatever the case may be, an anonymous divorce will keep your divorce between the two of you. It must be pointed out that throughout the years technology has improved, so tech-savvy reporters have found loopholes for anonymous divorces. A prime example would be the former New York congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin. Although their divorce was originally anonymous, it didn’t take long for reporters to dig up the details.

You also have to file and get approval from a judge to have your case under seal, so you run the risk of people finding out before the divorce is changed from public to private.

Can I Get an Anonymous Divorce in Pennsylvania?

You can petition to keep your name out of the filings, but the judge may not grant it. Pennsylvania is a no-fault divorce state, which means you can file for divorce without divulging the reason. Although the filing of your divorce will be public, no other information will be given.

The best way to keep your divorce as private and painless as possible is to avoid court altogether. Whenever you go to court, you run the risk of your information getting out. You also need to make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page in regards to keeping your information private, so he or she doesn’t decide to post anything on social media about it.

One option is mediation. When couples opt to go the mediation route, it’s about reaching a compromise. Each person will advise their lawyer on what they want out of the divorce and the lawyers will discuss the concerns privately and come to an agreement that is beneficial to everyone involved. Since the divorce did not go through a court, the results, such as how much alimony or property each person gets, will not be public knowledge. Here are our tips to successfully complete the mediation process.

  • Consider your children. Trying to work together out of court will be much better for your children.
  • Discuss your options. Mediation works better when both parties want to mediate. If your spouse has no interest in sitting down and discussing these issues with you, then it most likely won’t go well.
  • Set your goals. Once you know what you have, you can then decide what you want to keep. You can’t have it all, so take a good look at the list you made and decide what you can live without and what you can’t. For example, you may like to keep the vacation home in Hawaii, but it’s more important to keep your home that your children grew up in.
  • Do your homework. Your lawyer is there to assist you, but we have to know what’s at stake. Before the proceedings begin, sit down and write down all of your assets, property, and accounts. Come prepared with questions we can answer.

No matter what type of divorce you choose, it is important to have an experienced lawyer there to help you every step of the way. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., has over 25 years of experience in family law. We handle all of our cases professionally and with integrity. For a free consultation with a Montgomery County divorce lawyer, please call (610) 645-0100.

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