Should you monitor your spouse’s email during a divorce?

The short answer is “”NO!”As a divorce lawyer based in Portland, Oregon, I hear this question all too frequently. It  is always a bad idea during a divorce case. The other related situation situation is where a  potential client arrives in the office with a printed stack of intercepted or hacked emails and wants you to read them.  It is a very bad idea to intercept your spouses communications with the thought you will be able to use them in your divorce.  You are potentially violating the federal Wiretap Act, and Oregon has made  intercepting wire or verbal communications where you are not a party a Class A Misdemeanor. (ORS 165.543)

In other states, money damages have been awarded against the injured party in a divorce case where communications were monitored and misused. In Klumb v. Goan, 09-cv-115 (E.D. Tenn.; July 19, 2012), a Tennessee court awarded $10,000 in damages against Klumb for, in part, intercepting and then altering her husband’s emails in an effort to gain advantage in the divorce property division.

Other Popular Articles and links from the Oregon Divorce Blog

  1. Top 10 questions to ask a divorce lawyer in the first consultation.
  2. At what age can a child decide custody/parenting time?
  3. Contempt Of Court for Parenting Time Violations


About Sean Stephens

By Sean Stephens Google + Sean Stephens is divorce and family law lawyer, and a founding member of Stephens & Margolin LLP He was born in Eugene, Oregon and is a fourth generation Oregonian. Sean Stephens attended the University of Oregon, and graduated in with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in English Literature. His psychology studies emphasized early childhood development. You can find more about Sean Stephens at Stephens & Margolin LLP Follow him
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