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How Text Messages Can Affect Your Divorce Case

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A Silent Witness: How Text Messages Can Impact Your Divorce Case

In today's digital age, text messages have become an ingrained part of daily communication. However, during a divorce, these seemingly casual exchanges can transform into powerful legal tools with the potential to significantly impact various aspects of your case. While sending a harmless text might seem inconsequential, it's crucial to understand how these messages can be used as evidence in court.

The Admissibility of Text Messages

The first question that arises is whether text messages are even admissible in court. The answer, generally, is yes. Courts treat them as a form of recorded communication, similar to emails or voicemails. However, there are certain factors that can influence their admissibility:

  • Legality of the acquisition. The method used to obtain the messages must be legal. Hacking into your spouse's phone or coercing them to surrender their device would render the messages inadmissible.
  • Relevance and authenticity. The messages must be relevant to the case being presented, and their authenticity needs to be established. This involves proving that the messages indeed originated from the parties involved.

How Text Messages Can Be Used in a Divorce

Once deemed admissible, text messages can influence various aspects of your divorce, including:

  • Abuse and harassment. Text messages containing threats, insults, or degrading language can be used as evidence of abuse or harassment. This can have significant implications for child custody arrangements and potentially affect spousal support.
  • Financial issues. Text messages discussing hidden assets, extravagant spending habits, or attempts to conceal financial information can be used to support claims of marital misconduct, impacting the division of property and debt.
  • Infidelity. While not always a direct factor in all states, text messages suggesting or confirming infidelity can be used to bolster arguments concerning the wasteful dissipation of assets, which involves using marital assets for things like hotel stays or gifts for partners in infidelity.
  • Custody and visitation. Text messages demonstrating poor parenting practices, neglectful behavior towards children, or attempts to alienate children from the other parent can negatively impact one's custody and visitation rights.

Protecting Yourself from Textual Trouble

Given the potential consequences, it's crucial to be mindful of your communication during a divorce:

  • Think before you text. Avoid sending emotionally charged messages fueled by anger or resentment. Remember, anything you send can be used against you in court.
  • Maintain a professional tone. Even when discussing logistics or coordinating childcare arrangements, maintain a civil and professional tone in your texts.
  • Consult with your attorney. If unsure about the appropriateness of a message, consult your lawyer before sending it. They can guide you on safe communication practices and protect your interests.
  • Avoid discussing sensitive topics. Sensitive topics like finances, custody arrangements, or settlement negotiations should be discussed directly with your spouse or in the presence of your lawyers, not through text messages.

Get Counsel

The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc offers our clients comprehensive counsel. If you are involved in a divorce, we can discuss best practices concerning communication with the other party. We can also examine your case and consider the argument and evidence that the other party has (including any digital communications).

Discuss your divorce case with a member of our team. Schedule an initial consultation today by calling (949) 577-7935.

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