In family courts across the country, text messages and other forms of electronic communications have been used as evidence in divorce proceedings. In today’s technologically advanced world, texting has become the go-to method of communication. While we think that our personal text and phone messages are confidential, the truth is, once you send a text message there’s not no taking it back.
This can be negative, since it’s so easy to take messages out of context and people can interpret the message in a wrong way. It has also, unfortunately, become a tool for people engaging in extramarital affairs.
Divorce attorneys have noticed an increased use in digital messages submitted as evidence, a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Texting to your lover is basically like walking in the door with kiss marks on your neck. It’s easy to be caught. Even if your divorce has nothing to do with a cheating spouse, text messages can still cause problems for you, especially if you text a message that could be construed as hostile or negligent.
This is especially true if you have been fighting for custody of your children. If you send your ex-spouse an angry text about one of the contentious issues, the message can now be used as evidence in court to make it seem like you have anger issues.
And if you’ve been trying to prove spending more time with you is best for your children, you don’t want to give your ex any more ammo to fight that claim. While the message alone may not be very strong evidence, it can be used in addition to other evidence being used against you. Text messages can be misinterpreted so it is best to avoid sending anything in anger.
The credibility of text messages
Some legal experts believe that the use of personal texts as evidence is an invasion of privacy and shouldn’t be acceptable in court. However, if your partner’s cell phone is part of a family account, you may have the legal right to look at her messages.
Then again, it may be a crime to try to get the text messages from a phone that doesn’t belong to you. Remember, like in criminal cases, the credibility of your evidence is generally based on how defense got their hands on the evidence.
Another challenge to the admissibility of a text is to have the proof that it was actually your spouse who wrote and sent the messages. Even though your spouse’s phone contains steamy messages to an unknown person, there may be doubt that they were the ones who wrote it.
While there is a lot of legal work when it comes to addressing these issues, if you’re facing a divorce, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced family law attorney. They’ll be able to help you determine whether the text-message evidence will influence the court or be dismissed as irrelevant. Give Shaffer Family Law a call today at (480) 470-3030 to get started on your case.