4 Tips for Handling Electronic Communication During Divorce
During a divorce, we must pay special attention to how we use various forms of technology and electronic communication. All too often, an unsuspecting spouse will find their emails and social media posts front and center in their divorce trial. Due to the pervasiveness of electronic media in our society, it is crucial that you take steps to protect yourself in the event of divorce. The following four tips are a good starting point for protecting yourself from the risks associated with electronic communication.
1. Change your passwords. In many instances, spouses know each other’s email passwords or even share a joint account. You will be well advised to set up a new email account for personal communications during the pendency of your divorce. Assume that your spouse will be monitoring your emails and take steps to protect your private communications. You do not want your spouse to view discussions with your attorney, your accountant or even your new partner (the perils of dating during divorce will be the subject of a separate post).
2. Limit electronic communication.
During a divorce, all of your electronic communications will be scrutinized. You must assume that all of your emails and text messages will be submitted to the Court and used as evidence. If you communicate with your spouse via email or text message, choose your words carefully and keep your communications civil and professional. While it may be tempting to send your spouse a lengthy email airing all of your grievances, resist the urge to denigrate your spouse in writing. And do not assume that hitting delete will solve the problem. Many companies keep emails and text messages for a certain period of time, and your spouse may be able to subpoena these records.
3. Monitor your social media presence.
Your old high school classmates are not the only ones searching for you on Facebook. You can be assured that your spouse’s attorney is reviewing your social media presence and will use this information against you in order to gain an advantage in the divorce. This also applies to websites such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest. While you may not see any harm in posting the photo of you and your buddies out drinking, the posting will come back to haunt you. And do not rule out the potential to be found on online dating sites. Even though you think your Match.com profile is innocuous, your spouse could use your profile to undermine your argument that you were a devoted parent or spouse.
4. Do not record phone calls.
Though it may be tempting, avoid the urge to record your spouse without his or her knowledge. In Massachusetts, recording phone calls without the other person’s knowledge is illegal and you can quickly find yourself dealing with a criminal case in addition to your divorce. If you need to memorialize the phone conversation, record your thoughts in a journal or summarize the discussion in an email (following the above guidelines of course). On the other hand, voicemails may be used as evidence in Court since the person is aware
that he or she is being recorded. Just as with emails and text messages, be cautious when leaving a message on your spouse’s voicemail while your divorce is pending.
If you are facing a divorce and have questions about the impact of technology and electronic communication, contact the family law attorneys of Shapiro Law Group, PC. Their team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals will help guide you through the process while protecting your interests.