During a divorce, too many couples focus on the division of their assets and property, while giving little attention to their joint electronic data. As we've seen recently, in the case of Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, a spouse's activity on your computer or one you both used can complicate your life even after you've gone your separate ways.
Guarding Financial and Personal Information
There are more common dilemmas related to electronic data that can plague divorcing spouses. One involves protecting the privacy of your financial data. If a person has accounts in one's own name, it's essential to change passwords, security questions and other information that could give your spouse access to it. Many security questions involve personal information your spouse would know, so use fake answers. (Just keep track of them.) Of course, all of your assets still need to be disclosed during the divorce. Failing to accurately disclose them could lead to serious legal issues.
You should also take steps immediately to protect the privacy of your phone, email accounts and any other type of electronic communication you use. One Texas family law attorney tells her clients to get a new email address, remove any tracking apps from their devices and stop sharing calendars.
If a spouse uses nefarious means such as malware to access that information, it likely won't be admissible in court, but it can cause problems. However, if your child leaves your phone in the open where your spouse can see it during a visit, he or she may be able to use information on it to hurt you if it indicates that you're living outside the means you say you have or engaging in behavior that could be deemed dangerous to your child.
Be Careful with Social Media
Attorneys also recommend being very careful about what you share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites -- and sometimes staying off them altogether. Even if you've unfriended and/or blocked your spouse from your accounts, you never know what someone else may share. However, the Texas attorney notes that you should be careful about what you delete, as a judge may view that as destroying evidence.
As soon as you consult an attorney to discuss the possibility of divorce, it's important to get legal guidance on what you should and shouldn't do to guard your online financial and personal privacy. Failing to do so can literally cost you in the divorce process.
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