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What happens to digital property and privacy in divorce?

Thanks to the separation of one of Hillary Clinton's top aides from her famous husband, Anthony Weiner, the matter of electronic data has moved to the forefront of national attention. With the dawn of the digital age, electronic data is now a matter of great importance when couples divorce. Ownership of and access to this data can be a murky issue, but it is one that must be approached carefully and effectively.

Ohio readers know that when something is sent or posted online, it is nearly always recoverable. In a divorce, old information, social media postings or emails can be drudged up and used against the other spouse. In the case of this high-profile divorce, old emails and messages could have a direct impact on a federal investigation and an indirect impact on a presidential election. 

Some lawyers may use electronic data to determine whether a spouse is hiding assets or if there is anything that could be used to support the client's claim to support, assets or custody. As soon as a couple has decided to divorce, it is wise to separate all electronic accounts. There are ways to legally access even private information, and the process of protecting one's interests begins as soon as possible in the divorce process.

In most divorces, electronic data and online information comes into play in some form. A person would be wise to consult with a lawyer regarding the protection of certain personal information and long-term interests. This is one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce, but an experienced Ohio attorney can help navigate these matters.

Source: The New York Times, "In a Divorce, Who Gets Custody of Electronic Data? The Lawyers", Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor, Oct. 31, 2016

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