Text Messages Making Waves in Divorce Courts


Updated 4/13/22

Divorce is taking a new twist with the addition of text messages. Text messages are being used in divorce court and are often taken out of context. A high number of text messages are being used in divorce court and having the final say about items like custody, child support, and division of assets. Text messages can even be used as proof of undocumented income.

If you are considering contacting a family attorney, remember some tips. Family lawyers are advising people to be cautious with what they put in writing. Once a text is sent, it can be used in divorce court to make a case against one or both of you. If your spouse sends inappropriate texts to you, you should not respond to them.

When you talk to a divorce lawyer, there is a list of questions you should ask, including can a no fault divorce be contested? Can both husband and wife file for divorce? Can you get married without a divorce? You should ask if your texts messages can be used in court and how long is the divorce process time in USA.

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A growing number of courts use text messages to make the final say about divorce, division of assets, child support, and custody. In fact, text message evidence in family law divorce cases has increased by at least 80%, NPR reports. Private text messages be utilized, for example, as proof of undocumented income. Here are some things to keep in mind before striking up a text conversation on your smartphone:

Are You Speaking Too Freely in Text Messages?

Text messages can easily be taken out of context, even among friends. It is especially troubling when messages may be misread or misinterpreted by a court of law. One husband, for example, sent his soon-to-be ex-wife a message, “I’m so angry right now I could kill you,” a family divorce lawyer tells NPR. Based on that text message, the man faced charges of criminal threatening, NPR adds.

Family law specialists advise clients to be extremely careful about putting anything in writing. What many do not realize is that text messages count. Once a text is sent, investigators, lawyers, and your partner may be able to make a case against you using that message. NPR advises, “If you’re receiving inappropriate messages from your spouse, don’t respond inappropriately, because a judge will see that.” If you are not certain whether specific text messages may be used against you, add it to your lists of questions to ask a divorce lawyer.

Investigators Tap Into Company Phones

Another myth is that texts on company smartphones won’t make their way into a family law or divorce court. “Employees of private companies have almost no expectation of privacy when using company-issued equipment, including computers and hand-held devices,” NPR explains. Policies may not be as clear-cut in large, public corporations.

Even so, employees should proceed with caution. Matters of privacy have gone as far as the Supreme Court, but there is still a notable lack of clarity about them. Do not use a work-issued phone with the expectation that your spouse and/or a judge will not see texts and pictures on it.

Relying on the privacy of sent text messages — whether sent on your personal device or a company-issued smartphone — is extremely inadvisable. Keep things simple. Avoid sending angry or incriminating text messages. Consult family law specialists with specific questions about privacy, divorce, and text messages. Good refereneces: www.gillaw.com

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