When you separate from your spouse, you may be dreading the actual divorce process—but divorce is relatively simple these days for most people thanks to "no-fault" divorce laws in every state. It probably won't be long before you're legally unentangled from your spouse.
However, separating your digital life from your soon-to-be-ex may be a lot more complicated. Here's a basic guide on how to make sure that you don't stay accidentally digitally intertwined with your spouse during a divorce.
1. Get your pins and passwords changed.
Make a list of every digital account that you have and start changing pins and passwords to something your spouse doesn't know and can't easily guess. Don't assume that your spouse is unaware of ANY of your accounts—or how to access them.
While you obviously want to pay particular attention to your bank accounts and any other financial accounts you access online, you also need to remember to change the passwords to things like you entertainment accounts (Hulu, for example), your shopping accounts (such as Amazon), and your social media accounts (like LinkedIn and Facebook).
If you're still staying in the same home with your spouse pending the divorce, you need to immediately change the password or pin to your private electronic devices. For example, change the pin on your cellphone and your computer so that your spouse can't snoop around when you aren't looking.
2. Drop out of family-share plans for all electronic services.
This particularly applies to your family-share plan with your cellphone, unless you want your ex to be able to see every phone call you make—and potentially get your texts as well. You also want to disengage from any other joint accounts you have, like a shared Google Docs account or a joint Facebook account.
Make sure that you "unfriend" and "unfollow" your spouse online on all social media accounts of your own. In fact, you may want to simply shut down your old social media accounts and start new ones. Be selective about who you "friend" until you know who you can trust not to report your every post back to your ex.
3. When you do physically separate, reset all electronic devices you leave behind.
At some point, either you will likely leave the current family home. At that point, you'll probably have to leave behind some electronic devices. Make sure that you save anything you want off of them—and then restore them to factory settings. Otherwise, your spouse may be able to still gain access to things you thought you'd kept private through software designed to restore deleted files.
Once you've done everything you can to digitally divorce your spouse, you'll be well on your way to your future. For more advice on how to handle the process, talk to divorce lawyers like those at the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. about your specific situation.