Shared Accounts and your Divorce
Digital technology has advanced at such a rapid pace and has permeated so many aspects of our lives that you don’t realize how many ways you’re dependent on it until you have to separate your digital world from the partner with whom you’ve shared it.
Chances are, you’ve disclosed much or all of your personal information to your spouse, and you two have many shared accounts. You need to do several things, ASAP.
- Change the passwords on your personal accounts, and choose more unusual identifying questions. Your spouse probably knows your mother’s maiden name or the street you grew up on. Destroy any password lists you may have made, whether on your computer or on paper.
- On accounts that you share but can easily be divided, create your own separate accounts or remove your spouse’s ability to access them.
- On accounts that you may need to continue to share, set up separate access information. List shared accounts that primarily belong to your spouse or that may have monetary value and give it your attorney. If your spouse locks you out and you feel you should have access, your attorney will have the necessary information.
- Transfer your own sensitive data from your home computer and shared gadgets, then permanently delete it. You may need to wipe those files from the machine. If you must continue to use that machine, create your own personal username and keep the password secret.
- Secure your gadgets and those of your children, if you have custody. Remember, whatever your children have access to, your spouse may also have access to, especially when they are visiting. Make sure there are no spy apps or keyloggers on your gadgets, and turn off the “Find My Friends” tracking system. You can also back up all of your information on your gadget and do a full factory reset.
- If you’re connected with your ex on any of your social media accounts and you don’t want him or her to see your accounts anymore, make sure you block him or her.
Here is a partial list of the kinds of digital shared accounts you may need to consider:
- Financial accounts, such as bank, credit card, investment, taxes, and retirement accounts (You may need to talk to an attorney about how to handle these.)
- Insurance accounts (home, car, life, medical)
- Access to your children’s schools’ parent portals or student portals
- Medical records
- Online storage, such as iCloud, Google docs, iTunes, photo storage, computer backup accounts
- Online rewards, such as frequent flyer miles or credit card points Online entertainment services, such as Netflix, Hulu, ebooks on Kindle, etc.
- Family email and social media accounts
- Shared household accounts, such as phone service, amazon account, food delivery service, and any other services with whom you’ve contracted
- Google calendar
- Virtual property
Again, this is only a partial list. We try to go over the most common shared accounts with our clients and encourage quick action, but look closely at your digital activity and try to find all the ways you use digital space. Take action on those joint accounts that are clearly yours, and talk to us about the best way to handle the rest.