Dissolving a marriage can be an emotional rollercoaster and the process can bring out the worst in a spouse. With that in mind, it is imperative to take proactive measures to ensure that your privacy is protected and that you don’t become a victim of digital spying.
In this day and age, there are many tools available to a controlling spouse to assist them with digital spying, tracking their spouse’s location, or recording private communications. Even “smart” home appliances and thermostats can contain your location information if they are programmed according to when you are home or away. There are a variety of state and federal laws that penalize violators for the unauthorized access of information. However, it can be complicated if property is jointly owned but only used by one spouse or the other. Further, it can be difficult for local law enforcement to investigate crimes without victims paying thousands of dollars for digital forensic experts or private investigators. The best course is to proactively and aggressively protect your private information as soon as possible.•
There are measures that you can take in order to protect yourself and your privacy through the dissolution process. Though this list is not comprehensive, each of these suggestions seeks to maximize your privacy and protect your private information:
• Create a new email account—with a new and unique password—dedicated for the divorce case.
• Create new and unique passwords for all social media accounts and consider going “inactive” on social media through the divorce process.
• Be sure to unsync, untether, and in any other way disconnect linked devices (including the kids’ devices) if you do not want information shared.
• Consult a tech professional regarding your privacy settings to ensure your location and other data is not shared or tracked.
• Consult a tech professional to ensure that devices are free of spyware or keystroke trackers.
• Protect any and all communication with your attorney regardless of the method of communication.
• Finally, consult with your attorney before deleting any data or removing or replacing any electronics. It may be necessary to preserve potential evidence even if the device is no longer being used.
Jonathon D. Brooks is a family law attorney at Mesa-based Udall Shumway PLC, who represents clients throughout all stages of the family court process for everything from dissolution, paternity and child support to spousal maintenance, relocation, premarital agreements, and adoption. Selected by Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star from 2016 – 2019, a recognition received by no more than 2.5 percent of Arizona lawyers, Brooks also lends his expertise to numerous legal organizations, including the Volunteer Lawyers Program, Wills for Heroes, and the Paiute Center Neighborhood Legal Clinic in Scottsdale.