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Without question, most of us value our privacy. For the majority of us, this is true throughout our lives – and it can become even more important during a divorce. Divorce can make people act in uncharacteristic ways. Even if it seems like your spouse is not the kind of person who would spy on you, the truth of the matter is that you simply never know. Emotions are running high, and spying is tempting. As a result, changing your passwords when you are getting divorced is something you should strongly consider. 

Today, it seems that almost everything comes with a password: 

  • Email accounts;
  • Bank accounts;
  • Social media accounts;
  • Automated teller machines;
  • Phones;
  • Computers;
  • And more.

The sheer number of things for which we have passcodes and pin numbers can be overwhelming – but it’s important to think through these things carefully, and to decide which passwords you may need to change. A few areas where it may be important to immediately change your password include:

  • Email accounts: These should be some of the first passwords you change, particularly if you have sent emails or messages to others that you might not want your spouse to read. It’s also important to change these first because often, when you reset other passwords, your e-mail will receive a message confirming the password change, and you will likely not want your spouse to obtain that information. 
  • Phone passwords: With today’s advanced technology, many have smartphones with facial recognition that don’t require a key code password to be entered. If you do still use a code to access your phone, however, you may want to change it simply to be safe. It may also be a good idea to reset your phone to factory settings if you think there is any chance that your spouse may have downloaded spyware onto your phone without your knowledge. Spyware can often be very difficult to detect, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Social media accounts: Changing the passwords to your social media accounts is important – as is considering the possibility of potentially “unfriending” or blocking your spouse’s access to view the account. This can be particularly true if you have engaged in any behaviors or formed any new relationships that you would prefer your spouse not to know about. You don’t want your spouse to be able to easily gather any evidence that he or she may be able to use against you during the divorce proceedings. It is also wise to simply consider taking a break from social media altogether during the divorce process. It will always be there after your divorce is finalized, and taking a break may save you a great deal of stress and potential difficulty in the meantime. 
  • Bank accounts: If you have a joint bank account, it is best not to change the password to access the account until you talk to your lawyer. In certain cases, changing the password on a joint account and blocking your ex from accessing it can create serious complications. Once you have talked to your lawyer, and they have given you the go-ahead, you can change the password.
  • Computer passwords: If you and your spouse share a desktop computer at home, you may want to consider deleting any of your private information or browsing history from that computer and then obtaining your own personal laptop or another computer to use going forward. You might be surprised at the information your spouse can gather from a shared computer, and it’s simply not worth the risk.

If you have decided upon divorce, you may already have a divorce lawyer. If so, it is always wise to consult with your attorney about any privacy concerns you may have, and what steps you might legally be able to take to protect your privacy. It will also be important and helpful to let your attorney know if you discover any instances where your spouse has tried to obtain your passwords or log into your accounts. Your attorney will be able to advise you concerning the course of action you should take to keep your personal information private. Of course, it’s always a good idea to speak to your spouse too, and let them know that you intend for your accounts to remain private and that they shouldn’t attempt to access those accounts. 

Without a doubt, divorce can be difficult. This is true in the best of circumstances – and it can certainly be made more difficult when you have ongoing concerns about your privacy and whether or not it’s being violated. At The Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we understand the difficulties of divorce well, and we are here to help relieve those difficulties, as you move toward a new and brighter chapter ahead. Call us at any time. We look forward to helping you soon. 

At the same time, the lawyer can give you sound advice on what to do the next time you catch your husband or wife using your old passwords. If you can talk to your spouse, let him or her know that he or she has no authority to use your accounts, especially while getting a divorce.

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