Tips to Protect Digital Privacy During Divorce


March 4, 2020

Many modern couples share much more than a home and property. Plenty of spouses enjoy joint email and social media accounts, bank accounts, and cellphone packages. Divorce almost always affects these shared technologies. Even in divorces that are uncontested and generally friendly, the parties can be tempted to spy on each other’s internet history or texting activities. In some situations, divorcing couples have been known to use what another party said in a private conversation that was online to attempt to sway everything from alimony payments to child custody.

At the earliest sign of divorce, parties should begin thinking about the wisest ways to protect their digital identities. Otherwise, they may end up dealing with unwanted fallout and avoidable complications.

Untether and Halt All Social Media Accounts

The world may lean towards social media, but sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat can provoke angry divorcing spouses. A single picture or post could be twisted into something nefarious. For this reason, people undergoing divorce would be wise to change their passwords or untether connected social media accounts with their spouses. Ideally, they should deactivate the accounts altogether, removing the possibility of the accounts being used against them. If they choose to keep their social media active, they would be wise to discuss non-divorce issues only, and block anyone with sympathies for their spouse.

Reset All Individual Passwords

It is not a good idea to reset passwords for jointly held properties, such as life insurance policies or financial accounts. However, individuals during a divorce should cover their bases and reset all social media or internet passwords. This includes passwords on devices, on popular URLs, for medical accounts, and for personal bills.

Many computers routinely store passwords for convenience. Users should write down their new passwords and delete all previously saved passwords on devices. Doing so will lessen the likelihood of an angry spouse pulling money from a bank account or snooping around on a laptop for incriminating emails.

Be Careful to Send Kids Neutral Texts and Emails

Parents may have purchased devices for their children, such as cell phones or tablets. Frequently, the parents know those device passwords out of necessity, but this can lead one parent to explore the child’s texts and emails to find negative information about the other parent.

Though this sounds unconscionable, it is not illegal because both parents have the right to check the child’s device in that situation. Therefore, parents need to exercise caution when sending any messages to their children. They should avoid saying negative things about the other parent and only discussing matters important to them and their kids.

Discuss Smart and Shared Apps

More than ever, homes may be outfitted with smart technology. These apps can control doorbells, security devices, and even thermostats. Since both parties probably use the same app, they can deactivate the system if they want or make it difficult for the other party to use. To create appropriate expectations for use of these apps, especially if one party is staying in the family home while the other is not, divorcing spouses should seek the help of their divorce lawyers.

Moorestown Divorce Attorneys at Stockton Family Law Recommend All Divorcing Parties Pay Special Attention to Their Digital Privacy

Have you thought about how your digital footprint will be affected by your divorce? Talk to one of our Moorestown divorce attorneys at Stockton Family Law for legal guidance about your divorce and about your best options. Divorce is often a difficult process, please contact us online or call us at 856-412-5052 for a confidential consultation. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, we also serve clients in Mount Laurel, Burlington, Camden County, and throughout South Jersey.

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