Data Security and Privacy During a Divorce

By Michael DiFalco
Partner

Regardless of the circumstances, divorce proceedings can take a financial and emotional toll on couples, especially when the process becomes tied up in lengthy legal disputes.

Emotional support from friends and family is important as you transition into a new chapter in life. With most people relying on digital platforms to communicate and store information, it’s essential to consider how this content could compromise a divorce.

Online accounts contain sensitive information that a spouse can use against you in court. As such, keep your digital assets secure until your divorce is finalized. When your private data is out in the open, you risk serious consequences.

Changing Your Account Passwords 

Most people rely on digital technologies for day-to-day life, so countless sources are likely to contain sensitive personal information.

For anyone involved in adversarial divorce proceedings, information should be secured to prevent the other party from accessing private materials. From photograph archives to email accounts, if you’re involved in a contentious divorce, you’ll want to take extra precautions to prevent any data from getting into the wrong hands.

Even if you think you’ll be divorcing on amicable terms, you can never be too careful when protecting your digital assets. 

Changing your passwords and login information for the following platforms is key:

  • Cloud storage (iCloud and other services)
  • Phone/tablet passcodes
  • Online banking
  • Email accounts
  • Cryptocurrency wallets
  • Social media 

Although you may have previously shared digital accounts with your spouse, a divorce is a serious legal and financial matter, and even a seemingly minor breach can pose a threat in court. In many situations, spouses may continue to track your daily spending or social activities, which can negatively affect your divorce. 

Suppose that you’ve started dating other people while your divorce is still pending. Your spouse may use this information against you, especially if they have access to evidence such as photographs, messages, and receipts.

It is often common for a tablet or other device used by the family or by the children to have access to a party’s email, text messages, or other sensitive information, through which a partner is able to access confidential information, including correspondence with your attorney, or your friends and family. 

In other cases, your spouse may use any evidence they find in your digital accounts to harm your chances of getting child custody. Even photographs of your social life can be misinterpreted and used against you. As such, it’s crucial to ensure your spouse has no way to log into your accounts.

Location Tracking and Tracing

Similar to changing your digital passwords, you’ll want to disable location settings on all devices, including:

  • Phones and tablets
  • Laptops
  • Smartwatches
  • Vehicles (GPS and other data)

Depending on your circumstances, your spouse’s access to information about your whereabouts may affect your divorce proceedings and your safety. If you’re seeking a divorce due to domestic violence and your spouse can track your location, you could be put in harm’s way. 

Deactivating Social Media 

Even though you may have blocked, unfriended, or deleted your spouse from your social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, your digital footprint will still be difficult to wipe.

Anything you’ve posted in the past, including text, videos, and photos, is likely still live and active on your social media profiles. Although you may have taken all the precautions to prevent your spouse from viewing your content, it’s easy for other users to access your posts. 

Your spouse might make anonymous accounts to continue tracking your activities. It is also very common for a partner to access information on social media through another friend or follower who is aligned with them. If you’re worried this could happen to you, you may want to deactivate or delete your accounts until the divorce is finalized.

Representation for Your Divorce

At Aiello & DiFalco, our skilled attorneys represent family law matters in Long Island and throughout the New York metropolitan area. If you’re considering divorce, call us today for a free consultation. 

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.