Private phone conversations are protected by wiretapping laws. But what if the private information was garnered through email, instant messaging or even Facebook accounts?
The answer to that question is opening up a whole host of new issues for divorce law, in California and nationwide.
As an example, when a husband and wife share an email account and password before a divorce, each one may legally be able to read and the other’s email messages – including ones involving romantic involvements, financial issues, even attorney-client conversations.
However, suppose a man installs snooping software on his wife’s personal computer in order to intercept her emails. In such a case, the man could face civil or criminal charges. Even is such charges are not filed, the information gathered still might not be admissible in court because of how it was obtained.
Privacy is even less protected on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Such sites are generally considered to be public. Nothing a person posts on them is considered to be “private.” This is true even in cases where access to the information was strictly restricted through privacy settings, but someone else reposted the information to his/her Facebook page or Tweeted about it. As such, courts may consider anything placed on social media sites as open and relevant during a divorce proceeding.
In this new digital age, divorce attorneys are advising their clients to, at a minimum:
- Change all computer and email passwords as soon as divorce proceedings begin
- Rely on attorneys to file motions for important information, rather than using snooping software
- Avoid posting any potentially damaging information on a Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, including a “new relationship” status.
Finding a Divorce Attorney in San Diego
If you find yourself faced with divorce and need professional, compassionate advice on how to handle this difficult time, please call The Edmunds Law Firm at (800) 431-2526, or fill out the contact form on our website. We have over 33 years of experience handling a variety of complicated family law cases in California.