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Divorce and Family Law: Your Privacy and Security

When we are going through a divorce, suffer a loss, a break up, a painful change in our lives, we need to remember to take all the time we need to heal emotionally. Moving forward after a divorce and getting back on track with our lives doesn’t take a day. It takes a lot of small steps to allow us to break free from our broken state and move on- unknown. Moving forward in child custody, visitation, or divorce means that you try to rebuild your new state on a stable and secure foundation. In a divorce or family law case this means amplifying your security and rebuilding on an entirely new foundation. You will need an entirely new fresh start to ensure your privacy and security – especially in the sense of electronic equipment.

Before, during and after a divorce – your ex/spouse may go to extraordinary lengths to obtain information about you and the use of electronic technology may allow for them to invade your privacy and gain access to the most intimate details of your life. During a divorce or family law preceding an individual may attempt to use any information that they have gathered from you to discredit you or maim your character. Details from your electronic use may even allow for a spouse or other parent to monitor your whereabouts and permit for stalking and other privacy violations to occur. To avoid any possible security violations make changes as necessary to secure your private property both physical and electronic.

Examples of steps to building a new foundation of privacy and security include the following actions:


• Obtain a new personal computer.
• New cell phone- in your name only.
• Abandon – old email accounts and close them if necessary.
• Obtain new email accounts for personal use- make account passwords something the other party won’t guess.
• Set up a new email account specifically only for use between you and your attorney.
• Use encryption software on electronic devices for private communications.
• Take measures to secure your web cameras – these can be used to spy in your home.
• Take measures to secure all social media accounts – disabling or closing if necessary.
• Connect new cell phone to online accounts to prevent access without text message captcha.


• Change Door locks – If the parties were never married and there is concern that the other person could gain unlawful entry to the home.
• Remove hidden a keys – If you chronically left a key under a mat, over a doorway, in your vehicle, or in a key concealment container, remove them and give a spare key to a trusted friend or family member for safe keeping instead.
• Change pass codes to gates, garage doors, or security systems – codes can permit an unwanted party to gain access within the residence. Be sure to change the code periodically to something that the other party would not guess.
• Install security cameras – If you have reason to believe that the other party will cause a legal problem on your property, act violently, or commit a crime on your property; you may want to install security cameras, with the ability to record, for safety.
• Periodically check under your vehicle for tracking devices – For a hundred dollars or less a physical tracking device may be placed under or in your vehicle by the other party. This device would periodically ping your location based on cell phone towers and connectivity to Wi-Fi.
• Always lock your vehicle – A party may access your vehicle to plant evidence or a tracking device; or even to remove items from your vehicle.

It is important to remember that before you discard old devices or accounts to remove anything that may be considered as evidence from the media in question. If you have information that you wish to secure to be used in evidence at any time or at trial you should scan all information on to files on your computer and back up all information on a hard drive. Although an external hard drive is a good source to back up data an external hard drive can still fail and evidence can then become lost. A better method of backing up data is to save it to an online- cloud that may be accessed by any electronic device. Anything that you save in the cloud, on your computer, or on a hard drive relevant to the case should be electronically sent to your attorney along with any necessary hard copies. All files between attorney and client should reflect a mirror image of the original files.

In ensuring security there is a list of security activities that could drastically damage your case if you implement them during or after your litigation. These activities can make you susceptible to privacy violations and or negatively impact your case by making your evidence less credible or invalid. Anything that discloses private matters or negatively impacts your evidence will negatively impact your case.

The following is a list of some activities to avoid concerning security in a divorce or family law case:

• Do not use your work computer for private personal matters – Even your work computer is subject to subpoena and the use of a work computer can allow for other employees or employers to have in-depth knowledge into private matters of your family law case. The use of your work computer for personal use can also violate some work policies and get you terminated from your employer.
• Do not use computer programs to spy on a spouse – spyware or keystroke trackers may back fire on you by allowing the spouse to know exactly what was last typed or searched. If discovered these programs could also substantiate stalking claims by a spouse and would make all evidence collected this way inadmissible – because it was discovered through illegal means.
• Do not destroy any potential evidence on your, computer, social media, emails etc. – Do not do this unless you have explicit permission from your legal counsel to discard this item. If your computer or electronic device is subpoenaed and you attempt to delete evidence the evidence may still be obtained by computer experts. Any efforts to conceal illegal activities on computer devices in the middle of investigation could amount to criminal charges.
• Do not use technology or other means to fake or alter evidence – It is possible to verify evidence especially if it is technology based. Altering evidence can make all other evidence invalid and may also lead to punitive legal measures.