Can I get in trouble for opening my husband’s mail if we are separatedbut I’m still living in the residence?

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2011

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Can I get in trouble for opening my husband’s mail if we are separatedbut I’m still living in the residence?

Not divorced yet.

Asked on January 4, 2011 under Family Law, Colorado


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

These are common questions that arise in family court situations.  This would fall under the general heading of "mail tampering."  We have all heard the famous line "tampering with the US mail is a Federal Offense."  This falls under Section 1708 of the United States Code, Title 18, and yes, opening someone else's mail can land you fines and imprisonment for up to five years.  When you are married there is an implied permission that you are allowed to open eachother's mail.  However, when one party has moved out that permission is considered rescinded.  Sometimes the type of mail and what you do with it matters.  For example, if you open a bill addressed to him it would be different from opening say a letter regarding his job and then hiding it on him.  It would be best to err on the side of caution and leave the mail alone.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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