It’s very common for divorcing spouses to have shared access to computers, devices or online accounts, even after they physically separate.
If you’re separated or considering divorce, it’s essential to take immediate steps to protect your online privacy. This can avoid driving up conflict and legal fees in divorce.
Two important reasons to protect your online privacy during divorce:
1. Your spouse’s access to confidential communications between you and your lawyer can significantly jeopardize your bargaining position in settlement negotiations or in court; and
2 . Emails, text messages, and social media posts can all be used as evidence in divorce proceedings. Some examples:
- Nasty or threatening text messages and emails to your spouse or on social media can hurt your chances for child custody and/or parenting time with your child.
- Social media posts of extravagant vacations or purchases can create suspicion that you have more money than you’re letting on or may be dissipating marital assets.
Take these 4 steps to protect your online privacy when separated or considering divorce.
1. Set up an entirely new email account with a new password.
Though admittedly inconvenient, it’s well worth the effort to set up a secure email account to protect your email communications. These include confidential communications between you and your lawyer.
2. Secure Your Devices.
iPhones, smartphones, and tablets often contain valuable personal information easily accessible when left out in the open. Specifically, if you live with your spouse during the divorce, he or she can easily access your text messages, emails, and social media accounts.
Therefore, make sure to secure all personal electronic devices with a PIN or fingerprint.
3. Disable Sharing for Owned Accounts.
Accounts for services like Netflix, Amazon, eBay, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple often contain valuable personal data about you.
For instance, a shared Apple ID gives your spouse access to your iCloud account with your photos, contacts, emails, calendars, and your physical location.
If you are the owner of these accounts, disable the sharing to protect your privacy.
You should also include home security and smart home devices such as wireless cameras with cloud storage, smart thermostats, alarm systems, door locks, garage doors, and light bulbs.
4. Make a Detailed List.
If you’re separated or considering divorce, make a detailed list of all online accounts that your spouse might be able to access. This will help you identify which to stop using and reestablish in your own name.
While all this can sound daunting, you can save much on legal fees and bitter conflict during divorce, giving you invaluable peace of mind.
For more information on protecting your privacy during divorce or to schedule a personalized consultation, please click here.