Digital Privacy During the Divorce Process
When going through a divorce, it is important to protect yourself, physically, emotionally, and in today’s world electronically. Your digital activity can be used against you in many ways in a divorce proceeding and it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your privacy even in the online or digital realm. Discuss the steps you may need to take with your Orlando Divorce attorney to properly protect yourself in the digital age during your divorce proceedings.
The first step you should take in your digital privacy is to change your passwords to your phone, computer, email, iCloud accounts, social media accounts, PayPal and other personal transaction accounts. It is not uncommon to share these passcodes with your spouse during your marriage; however, sensitive material may be exchanged over these mediums during your divorce that your spouse lacks privilege too or that your wish to keep private. Therefore, it is important to change these passcodes and possibly set up a new email as a security measure for the reset of these account passwords, to hinder your spouse’s ability to access them.
Next, you will want to disable the location settings on your car, phones, and smart watches. In this advanced digital age, we are able to know where each individual is at all times. However, if you are going through a contentious divorce, or a relationship where violence has occurred, it is important for your own safety to disable these location services. Maintaining your security and privacy of your location and whereabouts will ensure an extra level of safety during this highly contentious time.
Social media accounts are an extremely popular way for spouses to obtain information about each other. Although, your first step is to change the passwords to these accounts does assist in some protection; it is important to note that social media posts are never truly considered private, no matter if you unfriend, block, or privatize your account. All posts you make to your social media accounts are discoverable to the court. Therefore, in order to protect yourself fully in the area of social media during your divorce, it is important to refrain from posting anything at all during this time.
Finally, even if you do take these steps to ensure your privacy in your digital accounts, and your spouse still attempts or succeeds in accessing any of your electronic data, Florida law provides protection. Intercepting communications such as emails or phone calls, accessing a computer, eavesdropping or wiretapping and logging into a spouse’s computer is illegal under Florida law. Therefore, the evidence obtained can not only be excluded from the case, but a spouse may also face criminal penalties. Under Florida Statute 934.03 “any person who: intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication…” can be found guilty of a felony of the third degree. Penalties incurred with this charge may be imprisonment of 5 years and or fines of $5000.
Protecting yourself during a divorce is important, and although physical safety may be on your mind, it is common to neglect your digital privacy and security. Discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney how you can take proactive steps to protect your digital information and how to enforce a breach of your privacy by your spouse.
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