In a New Jersey divorce, individuals may have settled on the idea of physically separating, but unspooling all of their digital connections poses further difficulties. These connections could potentially provide you with key information in the divorce proceedings, but conversely, they may cause you headaches as well.
In an age of shared streaming services, family data plans and iCloud backup accounts, the lives of two people can remain very much connected, no matter how physically and emotionally far apart they may be.
Many families share technology as a cost-saving measure or general convenience. In a divorce though, it can turn out to be anything but. Our East Brunswick divorce lawyers recognize that being intertwined in this way can put couples at risk for potential privacy breaches. A shared Apple ID can result in spouses unwittingly sharing information on everything from internet browsing history and saved documents to email messages, call logs, location and social media passwords. If the split is especially spiteful, one could end up causing a great deal of damage to the other. This is why it’s especially important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can help advise you of immediate and long-term precautions.
Basics of Digital Uncoupling
It’s probable that your ex knows most of the key passwords in your regular rotation, whether that’s an online banking account, Amazon login or username on Reddit. This is convenient for a lot of folks. But when you decide to divorce, it’s time to change all the passwords on accounts you plan to keep solo. Doing this will curtail any potential damage your ex might do to your accounts in the future.
You’ll also want to make a physical list of passwords that might have been shared and create new ones, preferably using a random strong password generator. (Your ex is likely to know or easily guess the go-to passwords you’ve had in rotation for years.)
If you have shared technology (tablet, laptop, computer, etc.) that one of you will be keeping, the other should back up the files they want and then the device should undergo a factory reset. Keep in mind that simply deleting data or putting files in the trash can doesn’t make it go away. The data needs to be deleted for good.
Important note: Before you start deleting chunks of data on your computer or changing passwords on joint accounts, you should consult with your attorney so that you aren’t accused of any spoliation of evidence in the divorce case.
If you have a shared social media account, it’s time to shut that down as well - even if you’re remaining friends. The best way to do it is for both of you to mutually agree to close that account entirely (not just rename it) and each start your own, if you’re going to remain on that platform.
Other potential accounts that you may need to disentangle (or work out how best to share) include:
- Investment accounts.
- Life, home, auto insurance.
- Medical insurance.
- Government sites (property taxes, motor vehicles department, etc.).
- Medical records (including for the kids, etc.).
- Your child’s school system records/teacher communications.
- Local library accounts.
- Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime accounts.
- Family email accounts.
- Billing payment sites.
- Cloud photo storage, etc.
- Shared Google calendar.
These are just a few examples. Because some of this technology is so new, the family Courts in New Jersey haven’t caught up with every aspect of it. If there are questions or issues with one ex improperly blocking the other’s access, these should be promptly addressed with the help of a family law attorney.
Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today at (732) 810-0034 for a free and confidential consultation.