When you are going through a divorce, one of the first things you should do is change passwords on all of your online accounts. A lot of spouses know the other’s passwords, login credentials, and answers to security questions. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study, 67 percent of couples share passwords. Changing your passwords can be a pain, but it will help protect your privacy, as well as set boundaries.

On which accounts should I change the passwords?

Change your passwords for every personal account you have, from banking to social media. I recommend starting with your email account, since that is usually linked to all of your other accounts. If your spouse can log in to your email, he or she will be able to snoop around and get any emails you receive about new login credentials.

After you changed your email password, go ahead and change any of the following types of accounts you have:

  • Banking accounts (Note: Only change your passwords and PINs for your individual account information; do not change your joint account login info without talking to your attorney first.)
  • Credit card accounts
  • Shopping accounts, such as Amazon and eBay
  • App store accounts (Google Play Store and Apple)
  • Cloud services, such as Dropbox and iCloud
  • Your computer password
  • Music providers, e.g., Spotify and Pandora
  • Fitness apps that track your exercise and location, e.g., Fitbit, Map My Run, Endomondo
  • Your phone’s pin
  • Social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram)

Is your password too easy to guess?

Create a unique password that your soon-to-be ex will not be able to guess. Remember to change your security questions/answers on your accounts, too, because your spouse will likely know all the answers to those, as well.

When coming up with new passwords, consider the following tips from Fresh Business Thinking:

  • Create passwords with more than the minimum eight characters. Twelve-character passwords are far harder to crack than those with eight.
  • Create unique passwords for each site.
  • Get very creative; do not use common words, pets’ or kids’ names, birthdays, or important dates. (Use random letters, characters, digits, a mix of upper- and lower-case, etc.)
  • Change your passwords every six months.
  • Consider using a secure password management service.

For more articles, information, and tips if you are going through a divorce, check out some of the other posts on our blog or contact me at 425-060-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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