Is it legal for your husband to open upyour mail?

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Is it legal for your husband to open upyour mail?

My husband always gets the mail first and I never get any, not even junk mail. He has used my name to subscribe to some magazines I noticed. Is it legal for him to open up accounts in my name?

Asked on August 9, 2011 Michigan

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The Privacy Act prohibits the behavior as described in your question.  Additionally, you may have seen in the news more recently that people have received jail time for reading their spouses emails.  With the law trying to catch up with technology, it may one day be illegal to read your spouse’s Facebook and Myspace accounts and the messages contained therein.

 

However, if any of the mail is addressed to both of you, then it would be permissible for your spouse to open the mail.  If it is solely addressed to you, then opening your mail is illegal.  It is actually a Federal offense to open anyone else’s mail than your own, so being married would not change that.  Being married just makes it easier to have access to someone else’s mail. 

 

No, your spouse is not legally permitted to open up accounts under your name.  Unless a spouse were to give their written consent (such as a Power of Attorney) to their spouse to share their information, the Privacy Act prohibits a spouse from sharing the other spouse's information in Health Care, Financial or Government institution, or any other legal matter. 

While it may be illegal for your spouse to be opening your mail, as long as you remain married and have your mail being sent to the same residence, it may be difficult to correct the situation.  If you are planning on a separation or divorce, it may be helpful to speak with a family law attorney to assist you along the way.


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