Jacquelyn S. Gonz, Attorney At Law Llc

Dividing social media accounts during a divorce

Many individuals have heard the phrase “digital divorce” being used in various media outlets and the entertainment industry. While many might shake this off as something more insidious than it is – perhaps centering on artificial intelligence or smart home technology – digital divorce can greatly impact most divorcing couples who have shared internet space with their significant other.

The division of assets has historically amounted to tangible marital property such as a car that was purchased in tandem or a rare book collection that both parties contributed to over the course of the marriage. Digital assets, however, are becoming more and more the source of heated arguments and contentious negotiations and are, of course, less tangible.It is wise to keep track of your digital assets as accurately as possible.

Things to consider:

  • Shared passwords: Many couples share a single login across the entire family. From popular streaming services such as Netflix to online stores such as Target to one-stop shops such as Amazon, it is not uncommon for there to be one shared account and, possibly, even a stored credit card used for purchases. It is important to identify these accounts when a divorce becomes imminent.
  • Vacation photos: It might be strange to even consider, but who actually owns your vacation photos that have been shared on social media? Something that seems so simple might become an argument in the divorce. If you both shared a vacation to Tahiti, who has the right to share those photos on social media after a divorce? Who took the picture? Who’s featured in the photo? These are things that might have to be discussed.
  • Shared public accounts: It is not uncommon for a married couple to build accounts together. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others – a couple can grow several thousand followers based on mutual friends, work acquaintances or online people with whom they share their stories. Based on popularity, these accounts can be valuable digital real estate with neither party wanting to hand over complete ownership.

If divorce becomes a reality, it is crucial that you work to prune your social media presence and identify any shared accounts or passwords. While Facebook might be the most popular social networking site, there might be dozens of accounts that house both your and your spouse’s information.

It’s important to recognize your digital lifestyle and accept that many things might need to be changed after a divorce.

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