Divorce can bring out the ugly in people. One of the ways it manifests is spying on the soon-to-be ex, checking up on them in sneaky ways, not respecting or understanding that new boundaries are in play even before you’re officially divorced. And in true “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” fashion, if one spouse goes down this path it’s highly likely to be returned by similar actions by the other party.
I get it, it can be a tough time. Here’s this person who has been part of your life for years and suddenly they aren’t going to be anymore.
Before you had a right to know where they were, an expectation of trust and sharing of information. While you’ll still need to share information, you are also in a space where you should start unwinding things that were joint. This can be both a way of protecting yourself and setting yourself up for independent choices in the future.
Fluffydog1 is not a secure password. Neither is your birthdate, anniversary, favorite food, you get the gist.
I recommend using an app to manage passwords (I like LastPass because it generates and stores secure passwords). This is especially important if you’ve been in the habit of using the same password on all your accounts and have done so for years. This is not only to protect yourself from identity theft but to start establishing your independent identity moving forward.
Even if you know in your heart of hearts that your spouse would never spy on you and would never use anything they found to harm you, start the process of establishing your individual identity. You’re going to need to do this anyway, better to do it with purpose as soon as possible than wishing you had later.
Things to check:
- Your computer
- Check your privacy settings and change your log-in password
- Your phone
- Change your log-in and disable any shared accounts. All of them. Even the Netflix account.
- Your bank accounts
- You cannot limit access to the other spouse’s account without cause and a court order, but you can limit the funds at risk of being diverted or dissipated by your spouse.
- Credit report
- Order a free credit report (https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/free-credit-reports). You’re entitled to this once per year.
- Lock any joint accounts so your spouse cannot make unauthorized charges.
- Talk to your advisors to let them know what is going on and request they don’t share information with your spouse without your knowledge. (car insurance)
Things to consider:
- Establish a p.o. box during the process to use for any private or divorce-related correspondence
- Establish a new email account to use for the same and only use it for divorce-related activity with your professionals. This separates all of your other conversations and makes it easier to track divorce-related topics. This can be useful for privacy, for record-keeping, tracking your to-do list, and to double-check bills from your professionals.
- Take a break from social media. While it might be fun to post a pic of the weekend away with your girlfriends, or a new beau, it might stir the pot in your divorce negotiations if you’re going to be ex sees those posts. You’ve unfriended him? Doesn’t matter, assume he’ll see whatever you put out there in the interwebs. You need to have no expectation of privacy as far as any social media is concerned.
You may continue to use a joint account to pay expenses if that’s what you’ve always done. If one of you has left or is leaving the marital home, those expenses are likely to increase and if you’re still married you both have a right to have a say in how your funds are spent.
Buying new furniture and all for a new house while other spouse gets the old.
You have a right to know where you stand financially
Privacy in Divorce – Respect Theirs and Protect Yours
Divorce can bring out the ugly in people. One of the ways it manifests is spying on the soon-to-be ex, checking up on them in sneaky ways, not respecting or understanding that new boundaries are in play even before you’re officially divorced.
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When you consider divorce, or if you know someone who is contemplating divorce, one of the biggest realities for those in the divorce process is the financial settlement and financial analysis post-divorce. Get the assistance of Brenda Bridges, a Mediator, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®), RICP® Retirement Income Certified Professional, and Certified Divorce Coach.
Brenda provides step-by-step guidance on matters related to divorce. With a wide range of experience and expertise related to divorce issues, Brenda will simplify the process and provide much-needed clarity in areas such as long-term tax consequences, asset, and debt analysis, dividing pension plans, continued health care coverage, stock option elections, protecting support with life insurance, and much more.
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Divorce coaching and educational services provided through Bridging Divorce Solutions, LLC. Bridging Divorce Solutions, LLC is not affiliated with Cambridge. Examples are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only.