12 September 2011

Your Computer, Your Separation and You

This post is about managing your electronic life after you and your partner have split up.

Change Your Passwords

Change all of your passwords to all of your electronic accounts. This includes your bank accounts, your ISP email account, your Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail email accounts, your Twitter account, your blog and your Facebook accounts, and any other account you access through the internet. (Don't forget to reset the password to your computer, your phone and your voicemail while you're at it.)

You will also want to change your telephone access passwords with your bank, credit union and credit card companies, and you should update the list of people authorized to make changes to your utilities.

When you're picking a new password, don't pick the name of a child or pet or anything else which can be quickly guessed; you would not believe the number of clients of mine whose exes have hacked their accounts after the passwords had been changed! What you're looking for is a random word and a couple of numbers, plus a special character or two if they're allowed, which you can easily remember. For example:


If you can only pick numbers, don't pick four of the same number, 1234, your birthdate or a child's birthdate; pick something random and change it frequently.

Emails, Texts and Instant Messaging

Work on the assumption that everything you text, twitter or email to your ex will find its way into an affidavit. Write each message as if a judge will be reading it!

If you're on the receiving end of an unpleasant communication, on the other hand, keep a copy and make a print out. (This can be challenging with texts, but it can be done.) You must also resist the temptation to lash out and reply in kind.


In addition to changing the permission settings for your ex, you want to be moderate in what you post. You know how you and your ex have all those friends in common? Assume that someone will be keeping your ex up to date.

Do you have any other tips to share? Please add a comment to this post.