EMY A. Cordano Attorney at Law
Can You Read Through Your Ex's Emails To Gather Evidence For A Family Law Case?
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On behalf of Emy A. Cordano, posted in Family Law on Thursday, May 10, 2018.

As crazy and bizarre as it may sound, but there is actually a way to read through your ex spouse’s emails to collect evidence during a divorce, child custody, or any other family law case.

However, in order to lawfully access your ex’s emails and other digital private messages such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter direct messages (DMs), you and your Salt Lake City family law attorney will have to do it through legal and court-approved channels.

Under Utah laws, reading through your ex’s emails – or someone else’s emails, for that matter – without obtaining that person’s permission or court approval is considered a computer crime and is punishable by law. So do not even attempt to collect evidence through a computer crime regardless of how relevant that evidence may be to your case, as unlawfully obtained evidence will not only NOT be considered “evidence” in family court, but may also result in a large fine and even a prison sentence.

Why do spouses go through their emails during a divorce?

Here at the Law Offices of Emy A. Cordano, our best family law attorneys in Utah have seen it way too many times. During a divorce, spouses who want to prove each other wrong and win a larger share of the divorce pie access their ex’s emails and social media accounts to gather evidence without having their ex’ permission or court approval.

Some guess their ex’s passwords (and let’s face it, those passwords are most of the times too easy to guess, especially when you know your ex better than you know yourself), while others have access to their ex’s emails or online accounts because they revealed them during their marriage.

How to legally gain access to your spouse’s emails and messages?  

So what should you do if you want to present certain emails or private messages from your ex’s computer or phone in court and not go to jail over it? Our family law attorney in Salt Lake City advises that you may want to attempt obtaining your ex’s consent to access his or her emails or private communication.

If your ex-spouse refuses to give you their written permission (this will happen in 90% of all family cases, unless the ex has nothing to hide), your only option to read through the ex’s emails and messages is through the court process. Your Salt Lake City family law attorney will be able to help you legally gain access to your ex’s emails and messages after examining your situation.

In certain cases, a spouse may obtain lawful access to his or her ex’s emails and social media messages by issuing a subpoena to the company that maintains those records. A rule of thumb is that you can present emails and messages in court and they will be considered as legal evidence as long as you request access or permission to these records.

If you, on the other hand, break into your ex’s emails and messages, you may be facing trouble with the law. Do note, however, that under Utah laws, you cannot gain access to emails between your ex’s and his or her attorney. Also, it would not be possible to legally gain access to emails that are not relevant to your particular case.

What if your ex told you their password during a marriage?

One of the most common questions regarding emails our attorneys at the Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law receive is this: “Can you read through your ex’s emails or present them as evidence in family court if your spouse told you their password during your marriage, giving or implying consent to access their emails and messages, but you are no longer together?

Although there can be exceptions to this general rule, normally you will not be able to use emails or messages from your spouse’s account under such circumstances, as after a divorce or during divorce proceedings, any prior permission is considered revoked. However, the fact that you have access to your ex’s emails or messages under such circumstances does not make you guilty of a computer crime, as you did not technically break into your ex’s online accounts.

If you would like to use your ex’s emails or social media private messages as evidence in family court or are worried that your spouse is snooping through your emails or online accounts, do not hesitate to contact our best family law attorneys in Salt Lake City right away. Call the Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law at 801-804-5152 or fill out this contact form to get a free consultation today.