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When your ex opens your mail

On Behalf of | May 21, 2018 | Divorce |

You may not get as much mail as you used to, but there are still envelopes that arrive in the mailbox that are for your eyes only. But what about when you move out of the house after you and your ex split up?

This might be about information that you don’t want your ex to have, or it might just the principle of the matter. Either way, you don’t want your ex to be snooping through your mail. What can you do to prevent your ex from getting your mail? Is it automatically a crime if it happens?

First things first: Have your mail forwarded

Even before you decide to move out, it might be a good idea to get a post office box so that you are able to keep your mail separate. It will also make things easier if you are unsure what your living situation will be once the divorce is final. A post office box will give you a safe place for your mail to be delivered while your life is in transition.

If you have already moved out or you have already figure out what your living situation will be once you do, make sure contact the USPS to get your mail forwarded. This is one of those small details that is easy to miss while you are dealing with more difficult decisions, but is still important. Not only will this help your mail get to you in the first place, it will also show that you want your mail delivered to your new residence.

While you’re in the process of getting your mail forwarded, change your address with as many people as possible to prevent mail from being addressed incorrectly. If the letter has your new address on it, it’s a lot less likely to end up in the wrong hands.

Mailroom mishaps

It happens all the time. The mail ends up in the wrong mailbox. This can happen for any number of reasons, but at the end of the day, you’re still faced with an ex who ended up with something you didn’t want them to see.

Your ex can’t “un-see” what they saw, but is there anything you can do? Are there consequences for opening your mail?

You may have heard that opening someone else’s mail is a “federal offense” and this is true, but it may not apply the way you think. For that rule to apply, your ex would have to have intent, and this might be difficult to prove.

Since most people go to the mailbox and open the letters without looking closely at them, it would be hard to show that your ex was intentionally snooping into a letter that was mistakenly delivered to your former residence.

What to do

Whether it seems like an honest mistake or not, keep record of when it happens. One time is an honest mistake. The more occurrences there are, and the more information your ex is getting from your letters, the more it starts looking like intent. If it starts to seem like a problem, consult your attorney.