Digital privacy affects divorce in many ways. In this post, we address a critical but often overlooked matter – synced phones and email accounts.
As described in this CNBC article, most spouses have their cell phones tied to one account. When this happens, a main number just adds more lines for a spouse and children, but the initial number stays the family administrator.
If everyone uses an iPhone, Apple offers a great service that allows all family members to share account services, such as Apple Music or photos. What some may not know, however, is that the principal account holder can have access to the other shared accounts’ information if that account holder also holds the password for the iCloud accounts for the other family members.
What would this mean? It would allow the principal account holder to access anything attached to the iCloud account – certainly text messages, but perhaps emails as well as photos and location data. The material can be accessed by the other spouse via phone or a laptop.
Obviously, once spouses file for divorce, having one spouse with access to sensitive information of the other spouse can create privacy issues and legal problems that could even impact attorney-client privilege.
Courts, however, prohibit terminating a cell phone during the pendency of the divorce because it is still marital property.
To protect all involved, the spouses should unsync their family accounts. At a minimum, each spouse should change the iCloud password so no one else can access that account and its contents.
Failure to take this critical step could leave you vulnerable to your estranged spouse spying on you through your phone.
If you have questions about digital privacy and divorce, contact us – we can help.