You may count yourself among those people who are not all that computer/digitally/technology savvy. Your line of work may not call for much know how when it comes to technology and your interests in life may lie elsewhere. Fair enough. Keep in mind, however, that these reasonable explanation will not help you if your spouse and their attorney know more and have taken more steps to protect their own information and access to your information through legal means. Even if you couldn’t care less about computers there are still steps you can take that can benefit your divorce case.
Copying the hard drive to your computer
As always you should consider hiring an experienced and effective family law attorney to represent you and your interests in a divorce. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC fit the bill on both accounts as far as our level of experience and our effectiveness in representing the people in our community achieve their specific goals.
One of the most important benefits that an experienced family law attorney can assist you with is in organizing a strategy to implement in reference to technology. If you are not all that technologically savvy then you will want to pay close attention to today’s blog. Keep in mind that if you have questions about why it is suggested that you do something in relation to your divorce that is your responsibility to ask your attorney.
Remember- it is your attorney’s job to educate you on the issues of your case and to ensure you understand the steps in the process as well as the rationale for certain strategies that he or she recommend be implemented. If he or she cannot do so then you should not proceed with that strategy or process.
Benefits of copying a hard drive
Before you consider going through the process of copying a hard drive you ought to make sure that your temporary or standing orders do not forbid you from doing so. If your divorce has not yet been filed, or if your case has been filed but no temporary orders are as of yet in place, then you can freely copy the contents of your hard drive.
A hard drive is the physical location on your personal computer that stores information. If you are the spouse has does not handle the day to day finances of your family it is especially important that you learn what is going on with your family’s money. You are already at a disadvantage because your spouse knows full well what is going on and is able to plan ahead accordingly. You do not and need to catch up quickly.
It is not a bad idea to begin to do this before you and your spouse have even filed for divorce and begun the process. You are simply looking out for yourself and your children in in the event that a divorce is filed. People tend to act strangely and out of character in a divorce. Meaning- it would not be a surprise for your spouse to take a computer away from your home leaving you with no access to it or the information stored within its hard drive.
Take precaution to gather as much information prior to your divorce as possible. Do not leave it up to you in an emotionally draining situation like the aftermath of finding out your spouse is divorcing you to go into the hard drive and copy it. Do it now while your mind is clear and your spouse isn’t scheming (yet). An even better method of preparing for the divorce is to insist upon being kept up to date on all changes in your family finances or to at least be able to know what bills your family has on a monthly basis and how they are to be paid. Not knowing this information can put you at a severe disadvantage in your case.
Location of important documents is important to know in a divorce scenario
You need to know where information is kept regarding life insurance policies, bank accounts, brokerage accounts and tax returns. If you and your spouse have wills you need to know where the copy of yours is kept in order to change the beneficiary from your spouse to another person at the first opportunity you get.
What if you suspect your spouse is keeping financial information on a personal electronic device?
Your spouse may not keep any personal financial information on your home computer. Rather, he or she may keep a tablet or cell phone with that information contained on it. This puts you in a tricky position because you have your suspicions but cannot confirm them without gaining access to the device. What can you do?
For starters, I would recommend that you contact your attorney immediately. It is not easy to gain the access that you need to verify information and cross check it against what you know. If you can request that the device and its contents be turned over for inspection it is best to do so quickly so that the device does not go missing or get broken or fall into the Pacific Ocean, etc.
Divorcing persons like you and your spouse will often request information from one another in a process called Discovery. This process entails your attorney and your spouse’s attorney sending requests to each other for information and documents. This is a common practice and should be expected by your attorney.
What is not always expected by clients is just how time consuming and tedious the discovery process actually is. While technology allows for easier storage and transmission of documents it does not always make the organizational process easier. You still have to do the work to locate, organize and submit the documents on time to your spouse. While you no longer have to lug boxes of documents over to your spouse’s attorney, you still need to do the work in locating what is being requested.
While you are busy submitting financial documents to your spouse, it is wise for you to check your credit report prior to beginning your divorce. You can do so once a year for free at a website called www.annualcreditreport.com. Take a look at this website to make sure that you are aware of all of the credit accounts open in your name. Yours would not be the first divorce in history to see one spouse open up a line of credit or credit card without their spouse’s knowledge or consent. Do not allow yourself to be the victim of these bad deeds.
Knowing what debts are in play can help you figure out how to strategize down the line for a division of debts and property. Don’t waste time and attempt to develop that strategy late in the game. Learn what your financial picture looks like early in your divorce- or preferably before your divorce has even started.
Technology as sword and shield
Technology can be used both defensively and offensively in a divorce. In tomorrow’s blog post the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will walk you through how you and your attorney can best utilize the digital world to enhance your positions in a divorce.
In the meantime, if you have questions about your divorce please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations to the people in our community who have questions about how a family law case works.