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Protecting electronic information at the end of a marriage


When Illinois couples are at the end of a marriage, there are an array of divorce legal issues that they must take into consideration. One that is often overlooked is how electronic data will be handled and protected as the case moves forward. While many cases will not have scandalous material that is part of the divorce, there might be lower-level concerns about social media, emails, text messages and more. These can exacerbate a dispute and can be used as evidence in a particularly contentious divorce. Having an understanding of ways to mitigate this is important before and during the case.

It is wise for spouses to cut down on their activities online while they are going through a divorce. Many will deactivate social media accounts while the process of divorce is underway and wait until it is settled to reactivate them. Others will use their accounts with less frequency and make sure that there is nothing provocative. Obviously, personal information about a potential new relationship can be damaging for a number of reasons. Also, if the spouses share passwords for certain accounts, it is smart to change these.

A new email account should be considered to make certain that there is no access for the other spouse. Moreover, privacy settings on accounts can be shored up so certain information is not public and easily seen by those who are not part of the social media circle. When spouses are using their devices to coordinate things during the marriage, this can lead to information being shared after the marriage has come apart. Information can be gleaned through apps and other devices that were used to make things easier during the marriage, but can cause problems during the divorce.

A marriage ending can be complicated enough without having to think about what is posted on social media, the chance that emails are being read, and text messages potentially being used against one spouse in a case. Emotions are often tattered when there is a divorce. This is why when the decision to end a marriage is under consideration, an experienced lawyer can help with all details small and large.

Source: Forbes, "How Is Electronic Data Handled In Divorce?," Jeff Landers, Dec. 22, 2016

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