“Regularly changing your online passwords is good practice at any time,” explains Neil Denny, Lincoln based divorce lawyer, “But when you are getting divorced then it should be essential.”
Our assumptions about online confidentiality and security can be very different to reality. In all of the upheaval when separating it is easy to forget about something as mundane as changing passwords, but it is very important.
Changing passwords on email accounts
“Our clients here at Diane Genders Solicitors almost always expect us to write to them by email. We have to trust our clients that they have taken steps to make their email accounts secure.
“The problem is that many people ask us to use their normal email account. It is likely that they have had this account for many years. Couples might have shared passwords between them. At some stage you might have told your partner – in happier times – what your password is. Perhaps you were travelling somewhere and needed them to check your emails to get the address of the venue you are travelling. Maybe you found yourself in Waitrose and had forgotten what ingredients you needed for that recipe your sister had emailed earlier in the week.
“I can remember times my wife has asked me to do just that – and times I have asked her to do likewise. The funny thing is, although I often forget my own password, I find it really easy to remember hers.” says Neil.
If you are asking your solicitor to email you, change your password immediately. We have some tips on how to choose a password below.
Changing passwords on social media accounts
You may have logged into your email or social media account on your partner’s phone, tablet or laptop. You might have left traces of your login details on there, or even forgotten to log out.” says Neil. “The amount of times I go onto an account on the iPad at home and have to first log my wife out never ceases to amaze me.”
“Usually partners have no interest in causing trouble for the other person by posting anything on their account. If the relationship is breaking down then emotions might be running high and the urge to do the decent thing can be running just as low. In these circumstances the temptation to trawl through contacts and to see what messages you have sent to whom can be irresistible.”
Again, change your passwords on all accounts you can think off. And while you are at it, make sure you check your privacy settings as well so you control who gets to see what you write and share.
Tips and traps when changing passwords
It can be very easy for a spouse or partner to guess what you are using as your password if you have used a memorable date or the name of a place, a child or a former partner! Don’t do it.
Instead get into the discipline of using random strings of letters and characters.
Mix up your capital and lower case letters. Use 2 or 3 symbols as well.
Most of us worry that we will forget the password, especially if we are using different passwords for different sites and accounts. You need not worry though.
You could have a system where you use the same 10 random letters, numbers and symbols for every website and then change the first, middle or last two letters to the first, middle or last two letters in the name of the website as a bit of additional security.
There is almost always a “Forgot your password?” facility on accounts. While this might slow down logging into your accounts it will still be more secure. You will quickly receive an email prompt enabling you to reset your password – but resist the temptation to go back to your old passwords when you do.
Changing passwords or set up an new email account completely?
Do not forget that there are very many free email providers on the internet. There is no reason why you cannot set up an entirely new email account just for your divorce communications.
Email technology moves on. In researching this article we searched for “Free secure email accounts” and we were astounded at how many new services there are out there beyond the very old favourites Yahoo, BTInternet, AOL and Gmail.
How can we help at Diane Genders Solicitors?
If you are thinking about getting divorced then get in touch with us here at Diane Genders Solicitors, specialist divorce lawyers in Lincoln. We can give you the answers you need to be able to move forward. Don’t forget though, we can only speak to you or your partner and not both so make sure you speak to us first.
You can call on 01522 516500 or contact us here to make an appointment with one of our qualified and experienced specialist family law solicitors.