Rules About Electronics & Social Media
One of the things we are asked about by most clients is what they can look at on their spouse’s phone, iPad, or computer. While there is not one answer that applies to all situations, below are some general rules to follow when it comes to electronics and social media in divorce. Of course, if you have any questions about how this applies to you please call us and ask before you take any actions.
PHONES, COMPUTERS AND TABLETS
If ALL four of these are true:
- You are living with your spouse;
- Your spouse has given you his/her password;
- The device is marital property (you may need to ask us about this one); and
- The device is not owned by a business.. then
you can look at what is on the device. In some situations, it is a good idea to take the device to a professional and have it “imaged.” This will allow you to preserve the content of the device as of that date; you never know what someone may try and ‘erase’ later. At a minimum, download and copy anything you find important; or take a screen shot or picture of the information.
The rules for social media are pretty simple: STOP USING IT!!!
It may be difficult to go offline for a while but believe us it is in your best interest.
Dos & Donts
If your spouse has changed his/her password and has not given you the new password, you may not guess and thereafter use the information discovered. There are options available to you through the courts to have the information and to have it protected. Just let us know if you think there may be important information on the device and we will walk you through the best options and next steps.
If you never knew the password to start with, do not sit there and try and figure it out.
Both of these rules apply to unlocking the device itself and trying to access or open any program, app, or account.
Dos & Donts
- DON’T delete, erase or alter what you have already posted on social media. If you have not done so already, make all of the settings on your accounts private.
- DON’T create fake accounts or pose as other people to access anyone’s information or posts.
- DON’T have a friend do what you can’t do, but if they are already a “follower” or friend of your spouse on their accounts, you can view the information that way.
- DO review your spouse’s postings IF you already have access. Download, copy, or photograph anything you think is important.
- DO change location settings for any “friend finder” sites.