One thing few couples consider when beginning a divorce is the impact that technology will have on their proceedings.This is especially true in heavily contested cases. Your attorney is not allowed to tell you to go out and purge your various social network platforms, nor should you. It would be prudent, however, to be careful with social media and other technologies, and to use common sense. Often parties will post a picture or a status update in order to elicit a response from a spouse. However, is the status update airing your spouse’s dirty laundry or that photograph of you and the new significant other on vacation together something you want your spouse’s attorney holding up in front of the judge in your case? Besides social media postings, the following are things to consider when going through a contested divorce.
Be Careful With Your Passwords
If your password for your personal accounts are something your spouse knows, you may want to change them. These could be for anything from email to banking/retirement accounts. Account balances and information are shared during the discovery phase in a divorce, but there have been instances when one party guesses an account password, quickly liquidates the account and either makes a purchase, pays off a personal debt, or money simply vanishes. While there are legal processes to try and recover and offset these actions, they can be very costly and time consuming once the damage has been done. As for email passwords, you may think that you have nothing to hide. However, it is easy for a spouse to gain personal and confidential information by simply monitoring your correspondences, especially if you communicate with your attorney via email. While this type of monitoring behavior does take place, it is both improper and unethical. Any attorney who becomes aware of this behavior should advise their client to immediately cease monitoring their spouse’s communications.
Additionally, even if you think your passwords are secure, be sure they are not set to ‘auto login’ on any sites or computers your spouse may have access to.
Another thing to consider about your electronic devices when going through a divorce is whether you have them synchronized through a cloud feature or other online account. You may have everything password protected, but a simple feature such as “iCloud” being activated could mean that the secure text messages, emails, and contact information on your iPhone are popping up on the iPad your spouse took from the marital home earlier in the divorce.
Text Messages and Email Correspondence
Throughout the course of your divorce, or the events leading up to the decision to file for divorce, it is very likely that the actions of your spouse will upset you. In this situation, there is sometimes a tendency for one party to lash out at the other, saying or doing things with the purpose of trying to hurt or upset the other party. Many times this happens via text messages or emails.
The thing that most people do not realize about this is that those texts and emails become evidence against you. While they may not even be about anything pertinent to the facts in your divorce, you do not want your spouse’s attorney to end up with copies of vulgar or hurtful texts and emails to present to the judge while arguing something for their client. These types of messages from a party can only hurt them in the eyes of a judge.
Technology is now a valuable part of our everyday lives. When going through a contested divorce, it is extremely important to give careful thought to how easily shared and readily available your personal information can be to your spouse and their attorney. It may be necessary to take steps to protect your privacy during your divorce.