Cloud technology has been an amazingly useful collaborative tool for many people; however, divorce attorneys warn about the pitfalls for those getting divorced.
Privacy is a huge concern for couples going through divorce proceedings with a divorce lawyer and virtual accounts are just one of many things that can cause unnecessary headaches during this time.
To avoid issues that could affect the final divorce outcome, divorce attorneys suggest that spouses take a careful look at shared cloud accounts and their usage to ensure other issues are not created while divorce negotiations are going on.
Shared Cloud Accounts Share More Than Most Realize
As convenient as networked accounts are that allow the sharing of data between people and within groups, divorce lawyers have increasingly come to know that these accounts actually access and share more information than most people realize.
Though they seem to be their own entities that contain only the data within them, networked accounts can share other personal information like email addresses, personal contacts, the devices being used by a person, GPS activity, and other data.
Essentially, attorneys helping their clients with a divorce find dealing with shared virtual accounts to be quite challenging at times to the point of these accounts becoming liabilities due to how much information can actually be accessed with them.
Cloud Shared Data Can Create Problems
Divorce attorneys find that people have a number of misconceptions about cloud sharing accounts and this can lead to trouble.
- The first misconception is that they are private within the group that shares them. While this is correct in one sense, just the act of sharing opens up much of the above-mentioned information publicly to those that know how to extract it.
- Secondly, while someone sharing data in a virtual account might do so willingly, divorce lawyers must also stress that the actual data itself is their personal property, which can create other legal issues for those attempting to use it for evidence.
Accessing data via an account that was connected to a networked account is not legal, but many try to do it anyway in an effort to gather evidence about their spouses.
Be Careful About Handling Shared Cloud Accounts
As easy as it might seem to delete potentially incriminating files and documents from within shared network accounts or any accounts for that matter, divorce attorneys warn that this could be construed as the illegal destruction of evidence.
Instead, it is better to privatize all accounts so they can no longer be accessed by anyone else while leaving the contents intact.
Shared network accounts, social media accounts, and anything that shares personal information can also be secured or deactivated as long as the account itself is not deleted.
Most importantly, divorce attorneys suggest not making any new accounts that share access with anyone, whether they are family, friends, or anyone else.
Practice Cloud Safety When Getting Divorced
As helpful and convenient as sharing via the cloud can be, divorce lawyers have seen time and time again how it can be a liability, too.
Attorneys recommend that anyone going through a divorce should assess their use of technology, possibly even with a technology privacy expert, and find the right legal ways to secure their data and prevent it from being shared in unexpected ways.
Similarly, those who are divorcing should also refrain from attempting to gather information in these same ways.
Discuss any cloud and social accounts with an experienced divorce help attorney to determine how they should be handled moving forward to prevent the unintentional sharing of data that could work against a person’s divorce case.
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.