Take Control Blog

The High Tech Divorce

You’re taking a shower. Where’s your phone? What about your laptop or tablet?

You’ve decided to get a divorce, but you and your spouse remain in the house until the process is finalized. Or, one of you moves out, but there is an “open door” policy when it comes to the marital home. In cases where couples are amicable during the divorce process or for the benefit of children, this is not an uncommon situation. Such was the case in my divorce.

But because you’re under the same roof or there is easy access to the home, you need to be ever more vigilant. Vigilant when it comes to safeguarding your personal information, be it electronic or in paper form.

There are several software and services that allow the monitoring of smartphone usage in real time. These solutions can log any activity taking place on a phone. The same solutions exit for laptops, tablets and desktop computers. Once installed in a device, these products work in stealth mode and can easily log passwords, IDs and any other keystrokes.

So back to your shower; while you are not looking, your soon to be former spouse can easily install such software on your devices. What’s worse is that you will not have the faintest idea of its presence. As a result, the other party will have access to all your privileged exchanges—emails, chats, social sites, texts—with your attorney, accountant, friends and all others.

Solutions from providers like Mobil Spy and SpectorSoft, positioned as monitoring solutions for children and employees, can now be used against you in what is likely the biggest negotiation of your life—i.e., your divorce. And with the other side gaining unfair access to your information, you will likely be at a severe disadvantage.

Think this can’t happen to you? Think again. It happens more than anyone would think. “I see undetected monitoring all the time,” says Alexis Gonzalez, owner of the firm Advance Network Support. “A client used such a solution to uncover her daughter’s drug addiction, so just imagine what can be uncovered in a divorce case.”

To protect themselves, people open take some key steps right after the decision to divorce is made:

  1. Change passwords on all your devices, especially on any previously shared computers or tablets.
  2. Reduce the idle time on all devices so that the password access screen activates right after the device becomes idle.
  3. Make best efforts to always have primary devices in their immediate possession.
  4. And when it comes to sensitive documents, they are put away securely once they are done using them.

So, enjoy your shower, but always be vigilant.