How to Divorce Your Digital Life When You Divorce Your Spouse

How to Divorce Your Digital Life When You Divorce Your SpouseDivorces are more than just obtaining a good property settlement and a custody order that protects your children. It is critical that you obtain a strong and fair alimony and child support order. There are also many practical issues to think about when you divorce. Women need to consider whether they will keep their married name or go back to their maiden name. Both spouses need to think about when they might start dating again.

One divorce issue nearly every spouse needs to review is their digital presence with their spouse. Many spouses have joint online financial accounts and social media accounts. When you divorce, you want to take steps to ensure that your ex-spouse cannot access any of your accounts. You need to decide whether you will keep any current accounts, delete them, and/or open up new accounts.

Practical suggestions for changing your digital passwords and accounts

Divorcing spouses should consider creating new digital accounts. You need to create these new accounts for security reasons; and they’re also healthy for personal reasons. New accounts help your forge your new identity. For financial accounts, consider creating new accounts in your name only and then transferring the funds from joint accounts (only the funds to which you’re entitled) to your new accounts.

For social media accounts, any accounts in both names should be changed or deleted unless you and your spouse can agree on who keeps which Facebook, Instagram, or other accounts.

USA Today suggests that ex-spouses take the following steps:

Change your passwords

Change all passwords to any accounts you wish to keep. Online accounts include:

  • Online bank accounts
  • Social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
  • Email accounts.
  • Google accounts
  • Subscription accounts, like your Apple ID and entertainment
  • Any medical accounts
  • Your computer device passwords, including your desktop and laptop

You may want to consider buying a new computer, since many people save their passwords to their computer or an online password manager.

Change your security questions. Many accounts require that you answer security questions to access them or retrieve a lost password. You should select new security questions to which only you know the answer. This usually means avoiding security questions and answers about your family since your ex-spouse may easily guess.

Change your phone number. Many digital accounts send information to your phone number. If you need to communicate with your spouse after the divorce (usually because you have children), consider multiple phone numbers or consider using security features that require that information be sent to your new email account instead of your phone number. It is important that your ex always have a valid phone number for reaching you on matters related to the children.

Review your bills

Your credit card bills and bank accounts are a good place to review where you might have any subscriptions. One benefit of a divorce is that the cost of plans in your own name may be less costly than family plans. Which plan you use will likely depend on whether you have children and what you want them to see and access.

Check your smart devices

You might consider buying a new smartphone (when your contract expires) and, again, creating new passwords so your spouse doesn’t have access to your phone or bills.

Review what you can see on your social media accounts

Most people store family pictures and news on their Facebook, Instagram, and other accounts. Even when you are the only person with access to these accounts, it can be emotionally hard to look through these old photographs and memories. You should think through what memories you want to keep and which ones you might want to delete. You should also think through whether you want to hide any of these memories until you feel emotionally strong enough to look at them.

Spouses should consider reviewing photos, milestones, and memories of their old spouse for another reason. Many people who date give the new person they are involved with access to their Facebook or other accounts. It can make your new life easier if you delete any refences to your prior marriage while you are dating someone new.

Your digital presence during the divorce

Spouses should also review their digital presence and digital access during the divorce process. Even if your spouse does not have the logins and passwords to your digital financial, computer, and medical accounts, they can request access during the discovery process.

Everything your post online may be seen by your ex-spouse either directly or through the discovery process. This means that if you post pictures of yourself with someone you’re dating before the divorce isn’t final, or you post pictures or texts about any questionable financial purchases such as a new car, those posts may be used against you in any contested hearings.

All divorces are difficult, and it can be hard starting over. At Shepherd & Long, PC, our Maryville divorce lawyers work to obtain strong family law settlements and orders so that you are in a strong financial and emotional position after your divorce. We have represented numerous clients in East Tennessee and Blount County. We work with psychologists and other divorce counselors to ensure you receive the support you need.

Our lawyers will help you understand many of the practical factors you need to consider after your divorce. We have been advising clients about divorce for nearly 30 years. To file for divorce and assert your rights to marital property, a fair alimony award, a caring custody order, and child support, call us at  865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.