Protect Your Passwords During Divorce

Serving Families Throughout Palm Beach Gardens

In the event of divorce or separation, it is important to protect yourself in today’s digital age.

It is highly likely that your significant other knows most, if not all, of your important passwords. You may have shared an online banking account, used the same Netflix account, or shared a Reddit username. As soon as divorce enters the picture you should immediately change all the passwords to the accounts you plan on keeping ownership of as the divorce goes forward. Use a random password generator to create secure passwords so your ex cannot guess their way into accessing your information. Complex passwords are more difficult to keep track of and remember, so use software such as LastPass or Dashlane to help manage them. Transfer any physical notes to these applications and you won’t have to keep a notebook that can be discovered any longer.

In addition to changing passwords, be sure to log out of all shared devices, ie. a family tablet. When deciding who gets what tech devices (tablets, phones) you should back up what information you want saved then perform a factory reset. A factory reset on a device will get rid of saved passwords, browsing history, images etc. In addition, consider turning off tracking services on your electronic devices, such as Find My iPhone.

If you and your ex shared a Facebook account where you kept mutual friends, photos, or conversations, it’s time to shut down that profile and create a private profile that is just yours. Do the same for Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and any other social media profiles you may have. Take precautions not to post anything that could come back to haunt you during your divorce proceedings and do not attack your ex on social media. It’s usually best to discontinue use of social media altogether. The use of social media is just another tool that can be used against you if the opportunity arises, and the less evidence that can be used against you, the better.

Laws governing social media and electronic data vary from state to state, so it is important to know what applies to the state you reside in. Consult with your attorney for any questions you may have in order to stay on the right side of the law.  Section 2701 (18 U.S.C. § 2701) of the Stored Communication Act a United States law provides criminal penalties for anyone who “intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided or … intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system shall be punished … .”

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John Schutz

John Schutz

Partner at John F. Schutz, P.L.

Representing clients exclusively in family law cases for the past 24 years, Mr. Schutz is widely regarded as a marital and family law expert. He is Board Certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Mr. Schutz is committed to elevating the standards and improving the practice of family law.

John Schutz

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