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In our modern times of cellular telephones, energy drinks, and the World Wide Web, divorce is both easier and more complex all at the same time. Modern conveniences make contacting lawyers and gathering evidence and information quite a bit simpler. But divorce is adversarial, and gathering evidence is now equally convenient for your ex.
When it comes to divorce proceedings, matters often become contentious due to the strained relationship that is legally being dissolved. If child custody is part of a divorce, it can get even more tense.
Here are three tips on how to safeguard and handle your electronic data and information during divorce.
1. Lock It Down
After separating, you should change all your online account passwords, including shared accounts. While a soon-to-be-former spouse is entitled to receive information about your financial assets and holdings as part of a contested divorce's dissolution proceedings, you do not need to allow anyone to see your personal online accounts, including social media or non-financial accounts, unless there is good reason.
However, it is worth noting that when child custody is an issue, courts can order rather invasive personal discovery, including the divulging account information and passwords for social media accounts and even dating website accounts.
2. Watch What You Say Online
Although some people use the internet and social media as a sounding board for the worst ideas ever thunk, if you are going through a divorce, or a child custody dispute, you should think twice before you post anything regrettable, or something that makes you look like a bad parent or irresponsible person. What you post can be used against you.
If you like to "check in" on social media sites everywhere you go, you may want to consider not checking in at every bar or every restaurant that serves alcohol. Avoid checking in at places that might harm your reputation.
3. Delete With Caution
While it may be easy to just go ahead and delete everything you post that makes your lawyer look down and shake their head, sometimes deleting something will do the opposite of help. As an initial matter, once something is posted online, it can be preserved by viewers by taking screenshots or saving files. Additionally, if what you posted was publicly available, there is a good chance that a search engine, like Google, will have saved a "cached" version of the webpage where you tried to delete a post. Also, a third party subpoena to a website may be able to recover deleted posts as well.
It's important to remember that if you delete something with the intention of destroying evidence, you may have just committed a crime.