A large part of divorce involves the practical issues related to separating two lives that have been managed jointly. This presents unique problems in the digital age when an increased number of those lives take place online.
A recent study by the Pew Research Internet Project found that over one in four couples have a joint email account and 67 percent of people in a committed relationship have shared at least one of their passwords with a significant other. People going through divorce should make sure to stay conscious of these electronic ties that they share with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Otherwise, they could unwittingly allow their former partner to look into their private affairs.
Dealing with Shared Accounts
Shared family accounts on social networking sites or joint email addresses can present a potential issue in divorce if the spouses are not cognizant of them. Oftentimes these shared accounts will allow one spouse to view another’s private communications, which can be painful during a divorce process. Fortunately, the accounts are simple enough to close down, so the couple can transition to individual accounts. In fact, most account services have a feature that allows the user to reach out to their entire contact list and inform them of the new individual addresses.
The more difficult type of shared accounts are those that come with fees and long term contracts. One prevalent example of this problem is a family cell phone account. Spouses on a joint plan may have access to each other’s phone records and texting data, so continuing to share a plan can lead to similar invasions of privacy. However, this is not so simple to fix. Usually, cell phone plans have contracts that require the users to stay with the company for a certain period. Decoupling this type of cell phone plan may require the payment of an early termination fee.
Changing Your Passwords
Another issue that crops up following a divorce is the online security flaw of password reuse. People tend to cycle through a list of passwords for online accounts. If an ex-spouse knows some or all of these passwords, he or she can then log into new accounts. Additionally, many online services protect people’s accounts with security questions, ones that ask for personal information. An ex-spouse is more likely to know the answers to those personal questions. Hence, recently divorced people should take care to use new passwords and obscure security questions to avoid allowing an ex to peek into their online life.
If you have concerns about emerging issues faced in divorce, like divorce and privacy, or would just like more information about the process, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer today. Our experienced team can help guide you through divorce proceedings and will make sure you have an advocate on your side.