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E-Mail Use in Divorce and Family Law Cases

Posted on : December 8, 2014

E-mails, Facebook posts, text messages and even cyber-stalking are issues that are now arising in Tampa divorce cases. Parties now often communicate through email, often to a third party such as a friends or attorneys, and therefore may have a legal expectation of privacy.

E-mails, text messages, Facebook posts and other social media uses can in some instances be entered into evidence. A big issue now is the expectation of privacy when the spouses still live together and have to share a computer and each know the password. In these instances, it can be argued that neither party has an expectation of privacy since a both parties reside together, using the same e-mail address with a password known by both parties.

However, the circumstances could be different if that e-mail is specifically addressed to one specific Party. This could be considered criminal as if one Party was reading mail from the U.S. Postal Service addressed and delivered to the other Party.

If the Parties have separate e-mails, even if the Parties share a computer, neither Party should access the email of the other Party. This could be considered a criminal action since the Party using the separate e-mail address has an expectation of privacy.

When going through a divorce or separation process, it’s always a good idea to obtain a new email address, a new password, and to keep that password hidden from your spouse.

There is a fine line between the ability to use e-mails and social medial posts and being required to disregard them altogether. Text messages are also difficult to use in Court. Even if they are allowed to be used in Court, they may only be allowed under certain circumstances. You need to contact an experienced Tampa divorce attorney to advise you the criminal and evidentiary laws regarding use of e-mails and social media accounts in court.

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