Top Ten Technology Tips When you are Going Through a Divorce

By December 4, 2012

By Deborah Chames
In today’s digital age, smart phones, iPads, laptops and cloud computing have become part of the vernacular. Part of the allure of these devices is the ability to synchronize them and access data such as email and calendars. Cloud storage allows you to also access text messages and other data that is stored in the devices and then uploaded into the virtual “cloud” for easy access from any computer. When you are going through a divorce, the fact that so much information is accessible through so many different ways may allow your soon-to-be ex to access personal information about you, including your activities and where you are right this minute!  Let’s look at some of the technological traps to beware of when going through a divorce:

10. Beware of the iCloud. If you use iCloud or any other web-based service to backup your phone, laptop or other device, remember that your iCloud account may be linked to a shared family iTunes account.  If your spouse has the password, he or she can login into iCloud from any computer and access email, texts, calendars and any other information you choose to store on the cloud.
9. What’s in your browser history?  If you are planning to leave the house and the family computer behind during the divorce proceedings, you should consider your browsing history. Did you research divorce lawyers?  Do research on property distribution?  All of the pages that you viewed on the family laptop are stored there for your spouse to see.
8. The iPad you left at home may still be connected to your iPhone.  If that’s the case, your calendars, email and some text messages may be viewed on the iPad.  If you are going to leave the iPad in the hands of your soon-to-be-ex, you should remove your personal information from the machine.
7. Location services on your phone or other mobile device can be used to track your whereabouts.  Location services applications that allow you to locate a missing phone, laptop or other device can also be used to locate you.
6. If you get a new phone and give the old one to one of your children, make sure to restore it and remove your data before they take it to dad’s house.  Maybe you got the iPhone 5 and gave your 4s to your teenage son.  When your son takes the phone to dad’s house over the weekend, dad can look through your emails, phone records and text messages and learn your whereabouts and even potentially access privileged communications with your attorney.  Before you hand over your phone to you child, it is wise to restore it to the factory settings to erase any personal information.
5. Look out for automatically stored passwords.  Oftentimes email passwords and other passwords to sites like Facebook and Twitter, may be stored on the family computer.  If you do not logout of the family computer, your personal pages may be accessed by your spouse if he or she retains the computer when you separate.
4. And automatically stored credit card information.  Companies like, for example, allow you to store your credit card information and make purchases with the click of a mouse.  If you are separated and you do not want your ex to be able to use your credit card for purchases, be sure to logout of the account and/or remove the stored credit card information.
3. Nothing you post on the Internet is private. (If kids can see your pages, so can your spouse)
2. Stalking: there’s an app for that.  New iPhones come with an app called “Find My Friends.”  This app and others like it allow you to link to other friends and once you link, you can find each other’s exact location.  Many people accept requests from friends and acquaintances without thinking twice.  But if your estranged husband’s best friend is connected to you on one of these apps, your husband can find out where you are.  If you use these apps and are going through a divorce, review your friends list and consider deleting anyone who might provide information to your soon-to-be-ex.
1. It bears repeating: CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS.  During happy times couples share passwords without thinking twice.  If your spouse has the password to your email, bank account, credit card, Facebook or any other account you would like to keep private, change your password.  The hassle of changing the passwords is nothing compared to the hassle of finding out your wife has been reading your emails for the last six months.