It has become almost common place in a divorce action based upon adultery for e-mails to be used as evidence. However, one must be careful with how they “discover” these e-mails. In recent South Carolina case, a husband admitted to his wife that he was having an affair but would not tell her the paramour’s name. So the wife’s daughter-in-law (who used to work for the husband) logged onto the husband’s yahoo e-mail account from her personal computer by changing husband’s password. There, the daughter-in-law discovered e-mails between the husband and the paramour. These e-mails were given to the wife and eventually used in the domestic action.

Once the husband discovered these e-mails were in the possession of the wife, he brought an action against the wife and daughter-in-law (as well as others) for the illegal interception of these e-mails. Ultimately, after many court filings, the South Carolina Court of Appeals held that the case could move forward against the daughter-in-law who actually opened the e-mails, printed them off, and gave them to the wife.

Although the daughter-in-law was only trying to help the wife, and the husband was the one who committed adultery, she now is faced with mounting legal fees and the prospect of paying the husband damages. If you suspect e-mails exist, have your attorney subpoena them and request an expert search the computer itself.

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