Written by: Marissa DelMauro, Esq.
In the midst of contentious and acrimonious divorces, the question often arises whether it is lawful to access a spouse’s emails without his or her knowledge. Understandably, one may want to view their spouse’s emails for signs of infidelity, for example.
The answer is, it depends. First, both Federal and New Jersey law require an analysis of whether the individual who communications have been comprised has as “reasonable expectation of privacy” and that reasonable expectation of privacy must be objectively reasonable. Meaning, does the average member of society believe that a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.
For example, in the case of White v. White, 344 N.J. Super. 211, the Husband contested the legality of Wife’s private investigator finding his post-transmission emails to his girlfriend on the computer server and sought to suppress the emails in Court. The computer and server were in the sun room, a common room in the marital home to which both parties and their children had access. The Court held the Husband had no objective reasonable expectation of privacy for his emails stored post-transmission on his computer server when they were contained in a room that all family members had access to along with the computer. Moreover, interestingly the Court found that the Wife’s searching of Husband’s emails for indicia of infidelity was not uncommon given the parties’ separation.
For more information regarding the legality of viewing spousal emails contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates. At the law office of Lyons & Associates, we represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters. We place a premium on personalized services and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail, view our website at www.lyonspc.com, or call our office at 908-575-9777.