Ending a marriage brings many disputes and the need for caution about many matters. Digital technology has become a major, but possibly overlooked, part of our lives that can cause headaches in a divorce. Passwords, online accounts and gadgets can be "weaponized" by a vindictive soon-to-be former spouse.
Passwords can provide access to important financial, household and social accounts and infringe on privacy. Passwords should be changed immediately when divorce is being seriously considered. This will help prevent damage caused from meddling, curiosity or vindictiveness from a spouse or other obtrusive person.
Make a list of shared passwords and make new ones. Passwords should not be based on the family pet, children's names, birthdates or nicknames known by the other spouse. Password generator services can be helpful. Deciding who will keep shared devices, such as computers, phones and other personal electronic devices, requires precautions. Passwords, browsing history, financial accounts, tax information and images are likely stored on these devices. It is important to backup what a spouse wants to keep and then have the device reset by the factory. All data should be deleted from these devices after it is backed-up elsewhere.
The end of the marriage also signals the end of shared social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. Shared accounts should be closed. Private profiles should take their place. Once these private profiles are created, social media privacy settings should be utilized. Discretion needs to be used to avoid drama or having a former spouse or any of their meddling friends or relatives following daily activities or using this information to cause trouble.
Also, social media postings may be used in court or negotiations. Posts on a vacation or expensive meal, for example, may weaken an argument over affording spousal or child support. Speak to a lawyer with experience in divorce about how to manage your digital life during the process.