IN A NEW YORK DIVORCE CASE, THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO INTERCEPTING EMAIL SENT BETWEEN YOUR SPOUSE AND THAT SPOUSE’S ATTORNEY
DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW LAWYER NASSAU COUNTY NY
H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 33 years of experience suggests that communications between a party and his or her attorney should not be read or reviewed by the other party in a New York divorce case.
In a recent case determined by the Supreme Court, New York County, the trial Court found that the Husband had been intercepting and reviewing email between his wife and her attorney. The Court noted that the Preliminary Conference Order in the case directed the parties to preserve all electronic evidence which included email. The Court took drastic action to level the playing field regarding the interception of the wife’s privileged email communications to her lawyer. The terms of the order of the Court are thoroughly detailed and go far beyond the parameters of this blog. Among other things, the Court Ordered that: (1) the husband had to provide all intercepted email to the wife within five days; (2) after setting forth a detailed list of cloud based, app based and physical data storage locations, the husband had to provide copies all storage, regardless of the type of storage, from the date of the commencement of the action to the wife; (3) the husband had to deliver his laptop and all passwords (to access the wife’s email) to the wife’s forensic computer specialist within five days (and was prohibited from using the laptop in the meanwhile); (4) the husband had to preserve all of the wife’s email and documents concerning her email, without alteration, pending further Court order; and (5) to appear for a deposition concerning the wife’s email. The directives made by the Court affecting the husband’s former attorney, who had apparently revealed some of the wife’s privileged email to the Court during his representation of the husband, were even more astonishing. The husband’s former lawyer was similarly directed to provide copies of the wife’s emails within five days. The attorney was also directed to preserve all emails, privileged or not, and to suspend his offices’ document destruction practices until further Court order.
It is abundantly clear that the Court found the interception of the wife’s email to be disconcerting and repugnant. This case illustrates that the purposeful and intentional violation of privileged and confidential communications by a party to a New York divorce can have serious and costly consequences. In my professional opinion, such conduct should be avoided.
I have been trying divorce cases and Family Court hearings since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice for more than three decades. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at email@example.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.
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Written by, H. Michael Stern, Divorce Lawyer Nassau County NY