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Online Security During Divorce Proceedings

Online spying and stalking by spouses and significant others has become almost epidemic. This is a critical issue in a divorce or child custody proceeding. Without your knowledge, keystroke monitoring software could be on your computer so that your ex or ex-to-be is able to view your every keystroke. 

People have been known to hide webcam devices and take continuous video of their partner– creepy as that may sound. If you are even considering divorce or are going through a child custody dispute, you should take precautions to ensure the security of your smart enabled devices, computers, vehicles, phones, Ring Doorbells, garage door openers, and even household lighting.

On Alexa (and presumably other smart devices), there are options for “drop-in”. If you have enabled this function, you can say “Alexa, drop in on the kids’ room” and the webcam and/or smart speaker will start listening or viewing those rooms. Even if you and your spouse have not been living together for a long time, without changing the passwords, your spouse or significant other still has the ability to spy on you or kids from anywhere in the world, at any time. 

Smart enabled devices such as Ring doorbells, garage door openers, security cameras, appliances, and even your household lighting generally require passwords when they were set up. When going through a separation, these are commonly forgotten. Make sure that you change all of your passwords to EVERY one of these devices.

Yes. In this day and age, it is very common for people to text and email each other in lieu of in-person communication. It is also tempting to believe that such communication is private. It is not! It is very common for a spouse to be collecting emails and text messages as evidence for Court well before any litigation ensues or even before the other spouse knows that there is a dispute.

Yes. As long as the recording person is actually part of the conversation. Be very careful what you say on the phone as your partner or ex may be recording you, which can then be introduced into evidence. If you have a smart phone, you should also be aware that your spouse may be recording conversations you have with third parties, even though such practice is illegal.

No. Just having a secure password does not effectively block spying software from being installed nor stop it from working if it is already on the computer. There are several programs out there that can remove this kind of malicious software; one such program is Spybot Search and Destroy. If you are concerned, you should consult your local computer security expert. This is a worthwhile investment if you suspect that your ex is spying on you.

Each person who uses an Apple device, including kids, should have their own Apple ID. If a parent or a spouse has the Apple ID or password of spouse or child, they have access to almost everything. A parent could actually log in as a child and obtain information that way. Change your password on your and your children’s devices and make sure no one else has access to it.

Another reason you should have your own Apple ID is that if your spouse is the primary account holder, they may not choose to “release” the phone, Apple ID, or even the number to you– even if it has been your number for years.  Sometimes you have to get a court order to release your phone.

Your iPhone stores information in “iPhone Photo Locations”. This shows where you took pictures, where you were, etc. You should consider disabling this. There is also something on Apple products called “Significant Location Data”: it is generally set to let it collect information from your device automatically. You are able to turn that off within your settings, but they do not make it easy to find how to do it.

Google mines for and aggregates everything it can. It uses other apps that you have to aggregate info about you. You can ask Google to show you everything that it has mined about you and you can ask for it to be removed.

It is common for people to post information about themselves and otherwise post private information that can then later be used in a divorce or child custody proceeding. Be very discreet about what information you post on social media sites. A good question to ask is whether or not you would want a judge reviewing the information on these sites as evidence in Court?

Message from McCarthy Family Law​

McCarthy Family Law is a full service family law firm that services all family law issues. If you are going through a divorce or have questions about filing for divorce, we are here to assist you. Please call us at 520-623-0341 to explore your options. Turning Stress Into Solutions®.