Digital Divorce: Five Steps to End Your Tech Connection

When a couple splits, there’s usually a division of property, assets, and child custody. But there’s another important piece of mutual property that should be disentangled: Your digital holdings. If you’ve shared social media accounts, email addresses or mobile phone plans, you may have valuable content that could require very skillful parsing.

Take a cue from Natasha Stokes, contributor to and consider these five ways to safeguard your digital content and tech connections.

  1. Get the Download: If you have shared accounts such as iCloud, Google Docs or Dropbox, it’s time to create your own account to backup and save mutually-owned content.
  2. Change Plans: Family phone plans may save you money, but when divorce is imminent, it’s time to move on. Breaking a contract might incur fees, but each service provider has its own policies for detangling accounts when parties are divorcing. Call them to discuss your options.
  1. Create a New e-ddress: Likewise, if you and your soon-to-be-ex share an email address, it’s time to establish a new one of your own. Don’t forget to let your contacts know about your new account; and set a deadline with your ex to shut down the old one.
  1. Update Passwords: Even if your split is amicable, it’s a smart idea to change the passwords to all your online accounts and mobile phone. “Create new, strong passwords, ideally avoiding references to mutually-known keystones like a child’s birthday,” Stokes suggests.
  1. Manage Location-Sharing Apps: Even after you’ve gone your separate ways, your smart phone can keep you connected. “So don’t forget to disable your whereabouts on location-sharing apps where you can follow and be followed by friends, such as Find My Friends (iOS) or Google+ (Android/iOS). Remove these apps or take your ex partner off your list of allowed friends,” Stokes says. “Remember to also uninstall family tracking apps you may have downloaded for peace of mind, such as Phone Tracker (iOS/Android) or Family Tracker (iOS/Android).”

If you’re uncertain about the process of digital divorce, ask your service provider or device manufacturer how to make the necessary changes. Your attorney can also help you sort out ownership of hardware, such as external drives that hold baby photos or other tangible data. To read Stokes’ article click here.