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Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce? 458

Posted by timothy
from the don't-forget-your-malware dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am a long time Slashdotter and currently find myself in the beginning of a divorce process. How have you dealt with dispersing of shared data, accounts and things online in such a situation? Domains, hosting, email, sensitive data backups and social media are just a few examples."
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Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:33PM (#39065183)
    Just been through this myself. My solution was to let her keep all the photographs, videos, accounts, etc etc. So I get a clean break, and no unwanted reminders in the future of a very dark period of my life. Seriously, you should at least consider the benefits of leaving it all behind, and letting the past stay in the past.
  • Re:Blegh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by owenferguson (521762) <owenfergusonNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:34PM (#39065199)
    I'd second that. My wife and I always had completely divided online personas, and still do. Shared assets like domains would be split based on the separation agreement, no? As for shared data, each party gets a full backup. Maybe change your passwords if you've shared them with your spouse. I know that I regretted telling my wife my email password when she started to use it as the password for other sites she signed me up for online (FetLife, for example.) We had a long talk that day about the importance of not re-using passwords on multiple sites; she was convinced that there was no way for website owners to see the passwords that their users put in. Thankfully, Lulzsec came along a few years later and vindicated my paranoia...
  • Re:Blegh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:53PM (#39065527)

    There are plenty of reasons to have separate backups other than divorce, simple convenience for one. It is also possible to be married and still have some modicum of privacy. It wasn't a marriage, but might as well have been, but I was lived with someone for 8 years. We had a fileserver, it had 5 folders: shared, tom-shared, jen-shared, tom-private and jen-private. File permissions, audit logging, and the basic tenants of an adult relationship kept us from looking at things in the others "private" folder. Amusingly enough, about 6 years in, we realized we were wasting a lot of space in the private folders with duplication of the same porn, and thus \shared\porn was born, albeit with a fetish "whitelist", so there was still plenty of porn in the private folders.

    As to the OPs question, it's too late to do anything about the way you backed up, if you're inextricably linked on backups, just make a copy of everything, each person gets one. I don't really get most of the rest of the question though. Did you have joint email and social media accounts? That was a shitty idea, but obviously neither of you should continue using them, since neither one of you is mrandmrssmith@gmail.com anymore. Copy the address book, contacts, pictures, etc, then close the accounts. If you actually had shared domains and hosting, those are definitively real assets with monetary value, and unfortunately their ownership is a matter for your lawyers to discuss.

  • Re:Blegh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PlatyPaul (690601) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:01PM (#39065681) Homepage Journal
    Do you both have rights to them? That's the whole point of the question: who "owns" the intentionally-shared "mutually"-created data?
  • by BenderX (2576081) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:04PM (#39065733)

    If you can copy it (CDs, MP3s, data on cloud storage), each person gets a copy.
    If it's locked down with DRM (iTunes) assign a value and divvy up along with physical assets.
    If it's a photo from your time together, put it in an archive directory called "/poisoned" and never open that directory again.
    Most email accts and social media are per individual, but if not, just let it go and start fresh.
    If it's critical to your future (the domain for your business), cover it in the divorce decree.

  • Re:Blegh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by couchslug (175151) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @05:27PM (#39066939)

    I've seen too many "mingled" examples turn into disasters.

    In the Air Force, I had to counsel folks from airmen to NCOs who "thought" they had a life mate until they went TDY and came back to an empty house, no money, and their love match getting pounded (by someone else) like a cheap steak. Pulling First Sergeant duty (I was an assistant, and glad it wasn't full time!) is very educational.

    My way has a parachute. I may never need to pull the ejection handle, but it's there. The other way is terrific until it isn't, and then it's much more messy.

    Good luck, but I could never ethically advise anyone to try it that way.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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