Privacy during marriage is often a difficult matter to negotiate. Regardless of the strength of the marriage, many expect and demand certain privacy rights, while others are more inclined to share everything and expect far fewer boundaries. This issue becomes increasingly complicated during divorce.
Recent Michigan Divorce Provides an Example
Consider the recent case of Michigan man Leon Walker, who has been charged with a felony for accessing his now ex-wife's e-mail account without permission. Leon's wife, Clara, had filed for divorce before Leon accessed her e-mail account without permission and discovered the details of an affair.
According to Clara's attorney, Leon was digging for information that would benefit him during the divorce. When he accessed the account, though, he found that Clara had resumed a relationship with her second husband, who had previously been arrested for beating Clara in front of her child.
Leon notified the child's father, Clara's first husband, who sought an emergency change of child custody . In support of this request, he submitted the e-mails, thereby demonstrating Leon's unauthorized access of Clara's e-mail account. Based upon this apparent access, Clara filed a police report against Leon.
The facts of the case are important; if Leon and his wife had shared their e-mail passwords while they were married and simply never changed them once the divorce process had been initiated, the situation would have been completely different. In this case, though, Clara had never granted Leon permission to access her accounts.
Another interesting aspect is that Leon could have likely gained access to the information through proper legal means: discovery. While the legal method may take a bit longer, the timely filing of a temporary restraining order (TRO) would prevent Clara's deletion or destruction of the e-mails, as well as prevent her from dissipating marital assets.
Considering Divorce? Protect your Privacy Now
When preparing for divorce, make sure your privacy is protected. Change your passwords and consider the security questions that are required for resetting these passwords. Although this case demonstrates that there may be repercussions if your spouse opts to access your accounts without authorization, the better option is to make it impossible for him or her to do so.
Divorce often comes with unprecedented and unexpected challenges, but you don't have to face these challenges alone. Work with a knowledgeable family law attorney, who can help protect your interests and guide you through the process.