Breakups can be a turbulent time in which our feelings can sometimes get the best of us. This can result in some of us taking measures which could be deemed illegal. Below are just some of the things that could get you in trouble with the law after a breakup.
Kicking your ex out
Living under the same roof as an ex is often not healthy. However, you should be careful of kicking them. If you are married or you both have your name on the rent/mortgage contract, they may have a legal right to continue living there. There are exceptions such as abuse and restraining orders that can prevent an ex from living with you. However, you otherwise shouldn’t force your partner out (and you definitely shouldn’t change the locks). Try to civilly come to an agreement. If this is not possible, you may have to get it settled in court.
Breaking into their home
Breaking into an ex’s home could be a violation of burglary laws. Even if you have a key, you are not allowed to re-enter the property if you have separated and no longer legally live there. Even if you’re trying to reclaim possessions that are legally yours, you cannot break into their home to retrieve them – instead, you’re better off going through court to get your stuff back if an ex won’t allow you to retrieve this stuff.
Taking their belongings
This is related to the last point. When moving out of an ex’s home, you cannot take belonging with you that you do not legally own. If your ex has proof that they bought it, it is theirs to keep. An exception is gifts – you cannot claim back something that you gave to an ex as a gift, as it’s legally now theirs.
Accessing their emails/social media
Some relationships are open enough that both partners know each other’s passwords to email and social media accounts. However, you must only ever access these accounts with a persons’ consent. Trying to log on to an ex’s emails or social media accounts is likely to be non-consensual and you could be charged with hacking or computer fraud. To avoid being a victim of this crime, consider changing all your passwords after a breakup.
Stalking an ex – in person or online – is also a crime. This could include anything from waiting outside your ex’s house to turning up at an ex’s workplace as a customer and refusing to go away. If your ex does not want to see or for you to be around them, you are stalking them. You also should avoid calling or messaging them if they don’t want to talk to you.
Sharing explicit images of your ex
Sharing explicit images of an ex online or with friends is known as ‘revenge porn’ and is also a criminal offence in many states. Such images should only ever be shared with other people if you have their consent – whether you are in a relationship with them or not. In most cases, you’re better off deleting these images from your devices.