Can I Read My Spouse’s Email?

This question depends on several factors. First, how did you obtain the information? If it was unintentional, you may use it any way you please. The ECPA only prohibits the intentional interception or unauthorized access to electronic communications. Therefore, if a message is sent to you in error, you may use the contents in any manner that you see fit. However, a password is required to access most email programs. If you have improperly obtained your spouse’s password, it would be illegal to access the messages. Should your acquire electronic communications that are stored, rather than intercepting communications as they unfold, you may use the information you obtain. Most importantly, it may be used as evidence in your divorce. In addition, you may disclose it to others. However, you should be aware that by doing so, you may be exposing yourself to a lawsuit or criminal charges. Whether your individual situation could expose you to the penalties of the ECPA is a fact-specific inquiry. Therefore, it is advisable to obtain the advice of an attorney before taking any action.


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