There are a lot of “moving parts” in any divorce, and so many things to think about at once that you may not immediately think about protecting your online privacy during this time – but you should act quickly.
Your online accounts may contain all kinds of sensitive information and communications that you no longer want to share with your spouse once the divorce is in process. Here are some important steps to take as soon as you can.
Change your passwords
This is the first, most basic step to take. Change the passwords for your email, social media, online banking, credit cards and any other online accounts that contain private information. The best passwords or phrases combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols and are unique for each website – and won’t be anything you’ve used before or anything your spouse can guess.
Make sure your devices are secure
Password-protect and enable two-factor authentication on all your electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets and computers. If your devices are secured with a number, make sure you use one that isn’t related to any important dates to reduce the odds that your spouse can intuit it.
Increase your online privacy settings
It’s only natural for a lot of people to share updates on their lives online – but now isn’t a good time to do that. The content you share online can potentially be used against you in a custody battle or to raise questions about your financial situation once it comes time to discuss property division or support, for example. If you aren’t able to wholly stop using social media during your divorce, you should – at a minimum – check your privacy settings on every social media platform or online account and limit your visibility. Consider deleting any “friends” you don’t know personally and don’t accept new friend requests from anybody unknown.
Think before you hit “send” on anything
Be cautious about your electronic communications, including emails, text messages and instant messaging. Keep in mind that electronic communications (even if they’re deleted) can potentially be recovered – so never write anything that you wouldn’t want to see displayed in court.
Ending your marriage can be a complex process and your “everyday” actions can impact your situation in ways you might not expect. For these reasons and more, it is generally a good idea to seek legal guidance proactively.