For many of us, email is a convenient way to communicate with friends, family, clients, and our children’s teachers. Email can be helpful during the divorce process, too. For example, emails between spouses over a lengthy period might show a pattern of one parent being unreasonable or disrespectful—and judges don’t like treatment of that sort.
But email can be damaging in a divorce action, too. If you are not careful, it could be prejudicial to your case and cause serious issues.
We compiled these tips to keep you on the right path—a path toward a divorce that minimizes exposure and maximizes your chance of a successful outcome.
Change your passwords.
If you haven’t done so already, change the passwords for your email accounts.
Hopefully, you don’t have a spouse who would snoop, but you can never be too careful. If you use a password your spouse knows or could guess, you make yourself vulnerable.
Besides, it’s a good idea to change your passwords every so often anyhow, right?
Turn off auto-saved passwords.
This is particularly important if you still live together. (Lots of people do until their divorce is final due to high rent or mortgage issues.)
If your password pops up when you log into Google or another email site, turn that feature off. While you’re at it, turn off auto-saved passwords for everything, including your financial institutions.
To disable saved passwords in Chrome, visit the Options menu by clicking the button on the far right of the browser toolbar. Choose the Settings menu option, and click Show Advanced Settings. Then, in the Passwords and Forms section, click the Manage Passwords link. From there, hover over the site whose password you’d like to remove, and click the ‘X’ that appears.
Use your personal email address.
It might be convenient to send an email from a work address, but it’s unwise for several reasons.
First, your work product (and probably your computer) belong to your employer. Your emails aren’t confidential, and ultimately, management could access and read them.
Furthermore, work emails (especially if you own a business your spouse may have an interest in) could be “discovered”—usually through a subpoena. In other words, your spouse or their attorney could end up gaining access to emails you send from a work address.
Avoid CC’ing third parties.
When exchanging emails with your lawyer or divorce manager, it may be tempting to carbon copy (CC) a friend, parent, or another important person who is helping you navigate the divorce process. Don’t do it.
While your communications are protected (private) by attorney-client privilege, your loved ones are not covered by that same privilege. This means that if your divorce were to become contested or litigated, those emails could ultimately fall into the hands of your ex.
Note: This article pertains to existing California law and is meant for informational purposes only. Do not make decisions that affect your future based on this post alone. Instead, consult with an expert divorce manager, like those at Hello Divorce, for sound advice that pertains specifically to your situation.