Are you planning a separation or divorce – or already going through one? As a couple, your online lives are completely intertwined. They need to be separated. This is likely going to be a headache at best, and quite complex at worst.
There is so much to consider, but let’s think about it logically.
First, don’t start separating your online lives if you believe you will first need to investigate whether your spouse may be hiding something – evidence of financial secrecy, an affair, or something more sinister – on a shared family computer or mobile device (don’t forget about a shared Apple ID).
Mention your concerns to an experienced divorce attorney during your first consultation. He or she can direct you to a forensic computer investigator. Professional investigators will understand what information is private, what is off limits, and what is fair game on your computers, tablets, and beyond, and can help you determine if there is any evidence you should maintain throughout the divorce proceedings.
There are also twin concepts called preservation of evidence and spoliation of evidence to take into consideration. They involve identifying and maintaining computer-related evidence in a divorce, which is part of the job of a forensic computer investigator.
It is also practical to set up new logins and passwords that your spouse cannot guess, to create a sense of privacy for each and every one of your online accounts. Start with those involving money, like bank accounts. Move on to expenses, such as mortgage. Think about your Amazon account, Google account, eBay account, and every store or online venue to which you have a login and password.
When creating new passwords, think of words or phrases you are sure to remember, then convert letters to numbers and other symbols. Suppose your favorite family member is Uncle William. “Unc13Wi!!iam!” would be a creative and unique option for a password. Note how the “l” became a “1,” the “e” became a “3,” and an extra “!” was added at the end. The total password is now 13 characters long and yet easy to remember. Password generator apps can also help to increase your privacy.
Apple IDs, admittedly, are a pain to deal with, because the company’s model never envisioned the impact of divorce. Call Apple Support and request direct assistance to sever your Apple IDs, create a new ID, and more. Do not be surprised if there are some things that “cannot be done.”
Finally, get some help to ensure your phone’s privacy. That begins with passwords and continues with tracking. The same goes with each and every one of your devices, too.
If you are staying in the home, think about smart doorbells, garage codes, and everything else that a spouse could hack into.
Feeling overwhelmed? Sometimes, a consultation with a forensic professional can add order to chaos. Since there are so many other issues that currently demand your attention, it is wise to seek assistance from the professionals.
Just make sure that before you start cutting yourself off from all shared information with your spouse, that you, your attorney, and your forensic professional have discussed evidence – whether it is ethical to retrieve it, how much it will cost to preserve it, and if you really truly need it in the first place.
SIEGELLAW can help you. Call us at (410) 792-2300 or fill out the form on this page to request additional information.