When large financial assets are at stake in a divorce, spouses often get nervous. It is not uncommon for claims to come from both sides that money is being hidden and someone is trying to avoid paying their fair share.
British banker Daniel Arbili was so convinced that his soon to be ex-wife was hiding property in their divorce case that he hacked into her email account. While he was able to purloin documentation his attorneys claim entitles him to more money in the divorce settlement, the court was less than enthusiastic about his methods. A final ruling on the “new evidence” has not yet been issued, but it seems unlikely the court will allow it to be entered.
It is not surprising that couples going through divorce would be tempted to look into each other’s email accounts. Being married to someone, you likely know the passwords to their digital accounts. If not, you can probably answer the security questions to reset their passwords. Highly publicized celebrity email hacks happened the same way, using small bits of personal information to guess passwords and pass security questions.
While you may be tempted to try getting into your ex-wife’s email during or after a divorce, it is NEVER a good idea. Here are three reason why you don’t want to hack into your ex-wife’s email account.
It is illegal
Logging into someone’s email account without permission is against the law. It is as simple as that. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged under state and federal statutes for computer fraud, wire fraud, identify theft, obstruction of justice as well as other crimes. If you think your divorce is going poorly, just imagine how difficult it will be if you also have to defend yourself against federal criminal charges. Save yourself the headache and refrain from committing computer felonies during your divorce.
It won’t help your divorce case
Some people may try to claim they had to hack into their spouse’s email because their spouse was hiding something from the court. After all, if your spouse was cheating on you, won’t you look at the text messages on their phone? Daniel Arbili claimed this as his motivation for breaking into his ex-wife’s email. The problem with this justification is that the reasoning is faulty. It is highly unlikely that the court would admit into evidence anything obtained illegally. Whether or not you find anything pertinent to your divorce in your ex-wife’s email, all you will likely accomplish is angering the judge and harming your case.
You may not like what you find
While it makes great television, hiding assets during divorce is uncommon in the real world. If you have a competent divorce attorney, all the community property in your divorce has been properly submitted to the court. If you were to log into your ex-wife’s email, it is highly unlikely you will find a smoking gun of hidden assets. Instead what you would find is evidence of your ex-wife’s new life. How she is spending your money she got from the divorce and who she is spending that money on. Really, the only thing you will find is your ex-wife moving on with her life without you. Maybe moving on yourself is a better idea than hacking into her email.
Leave email hacking to news headlines and celebrity scandals. Not only is it highly illegal, it has no place in a divorce case. Don’t end up as the poster child for bad acts during a divorce, trust your attorneys to handle your divorce the right way.