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Expectation of privacy during a divorce?

Newburgh, NY |
Filed under: Divorce Adultery

My spouse of fifteen years walked out on me last summer and hasn't been back since. I'm going to file for divorce soon and the only way I have to contact him is via the postal service. I've written only when necessary which isnt often. I have nothing to hide but I wouldn't want letters i wrote to my spouse made public in a divorce case.
Do I have a right to privacy? Is it reasonable to expect at least some degree of privacy in divorce matters?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    There is no "right to privacy" in a divorce (or anywhere else - that is a misnomer). If your correspondence references something that would be useful in a divorce proceeding (for example, if you live in an at-fault divorce state and you write a letter admitting to adultery or you write an email to your accountant instructing them to hide assets), then the correspondence would be both relevant and probative to the issue. If, however, the correspondence has nothing to do with the relationship, your finances, etc., then the court probably won't entertain it. But, nothing is "private."

    This answer is not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - it is to be considered only a general response to a hypothetical scenario posed by the questioner. For specific legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.


  2. It depends upon whether the divorce is contested or not, and if it is contested, the issues involved. Certainly, it is possible to retain some privacy if the letters in question contain no relevant information. Good luck!

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: marykatherinebrown@hotmail.com. All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


  3. I am sorry to hear about your situation. If you wrote letters to your spouse they are now his to do with as he desires. As far as the court file goes, all divorce files are confidential, but the parties can access them so that means you or him can get the info. & show it to others.

    Our firm has many years of experience in this field.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Please remember that I do not normally monitor these questions after I have posted a reply.

    Free phone consultation Monday — Thursday 1-5 pm.
    Hayley Greenberg
    Greenberg & Merola, LLP
    Attorneys at Law
    521 5th Ave. Ste. 1700
    New York, NY 10175
    (212) 593-6111, facsimile (516) 887-1720
    (Additional offices: Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island)
    www.GreenbergMerola.com


  4. I would be very careful about putting anything to paper right now that you feel might be used against you in a divorce.

    As other attorneys have mentioned, *if* what you are alluding to is letters that your wrote in explanation of why you cheated on him or something to that effect, I would think it safe to assume that those are going to get aired out at a trial if that is where your case is headed.

    If you haven't already hired an attorney, you might want to consider calling a few, at least for a consultation. Lots of luck.

    Mr. Reimer is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Reimer strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.

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