HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF ONLINE IN DIVORCE OR POST-DIVORCE MATTERS

 

You should expect that anything you post on social networking and dating sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Match.com etc., can and will be used against you in your divorce case or post-divorce case.  You don’t need to delete all your social networking profiles, provided you understand that a family law judge may read them one day.  If you are comfortable with that, keep using social media.  However, you should probably limit your social media to photos, videos and matters that are innocuous, i.e., matters that are not controversial or offensive.  Dull is good when it comes to social networking sites and divorce matters.

I recall one former client who testified in court that she never drank alcohol.  However, her social network profile had a picture of her partying with her friends and clearly having a drink.   Another client said he didn’t drink alcohol (this was an issue in the divorce), but he listed himself as a social drinker on a dating web site.

A number of attorneys now search social networking sites to get background information, i.e. “dirt” on their client’s spouse or ex-spouse.

What about e-mail?  Assume that your spouse is able to read all of your e-mail.  So, if you are starting the divorce process, get a new e-mail account. Better yet, if you can afford it, get a new computer—preferably a laptop so you can take it with you.  If you are sharing a computer with your soon to be ex-spouse, assume that you have no privacy and that he/she can and will not only read and copy all of your e-mails, but they will also know each web site you have visited.

Finally, if your spouse leaves the residence, you should still get a new computer or have your computer swept for spyware.  I know of one case where a husband left a very specific type of spyware on the home computer and he could read every e-mail that his wife wrote or received and every web site she visited, even though he no longer lived at home.

This all may sound a bit paranoid, but forewarned is forearmed.

 

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For more information, please call Philip A. Wasserman at 661-294-8484 or email him at pawlaw@earthlink.net.