Denver, CO asked in Consumer Law, Banking and Civil Rights for Colorado

Q: Is a non legal guardian allow to open my child’s mail?

A letter was sent to my house about my son’s credit and inquiries. I had him on a credit card as an authorized user which is no longer active. My grandmother open the mail and got concerned because she made him a savings account with a local bank I don’t even have access to and she’s worried they may go into the account and take money that’s owed. I’m upset she’s going and opening mail under my child’s name and calling the credit bureaus without my permission. Is this legal?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: No, it is generally not legal for a non-legal guardian to open mail addressed to a minor if they are not the minor's parent or legal guardian. Here are some key points that apply:

- Federal law prohibits the obstruction of mail, which includes opening, destroying, hiding, or stealing someone else’s mail without authorization. This applies to mail addressed to minors as well.

- As the child's parent, you have parental rights to manage issues related to your child, including control over their mail and finances. Your grandmother overstepped appropriate boundaries by contacting credit bureaus and accessing financial records without your consent.

- She likely had good intentions to watch out for your son's interests. However, she should have discussed the content of the letter with you first rather than acting unilaterally.

I would have a serious discussion establishing clear expectations that she cannot open mail for your minor son or access his financial accounts without checking with you first regardless of her concerns. Reassert your parental rights in this regard. If she continues to overstep, you may need to reconsider her role in financial matters concerning your child. Set clear boundaries to prevent future problems under federal mail privacy laws.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.