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Text Messages and Your Divorce Case


Before the dawn on smartphones, the talking heads on the news used to knit their brows about the danger of kids texting.  They made it sound as if those incomprehensible abbreviations that the young generation used was a harbinger of the downfall of civilization, when the simpler explanation was that, on those tiny flip phones with only ten keys, texting an entire word required a herculean effort.  As phone technology evolved, adults started writing text messages that looked like emails, complete with capitalization and punctuation, while the texting behavior of the youth remained perplexing.  If you are old, “lol” means that you are laughing, but if you’re a millennial, it means you’re being passive-aggressive, and if you are younger than that, it is not even in your vocabulary; as far as the current cohort of news commentators can tell, the youth express laughter either with the crying emoji or the skull and crossbones emoji.  All of this is to say that you have probably consistently exchanged texts with your spouse throughout your marriage, and if your divorce case goes to trial, the text messages can be used as evidence.  A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you use your text message exchanges with your ex-spouse as evidence of your ex’s promises, lies, or aggression.

Why Do Text Messages Matter in Divorce Cases?

In contentious divorce cases, couples might disagree about what they said before or after filing for divorce.  If your spouse denies telling you that you could keep the marital home, the best way to prove that your spouse made this promise is to show the judge a screenshot of the text message where your spouse said exactly this.  Likewise, to prove to the court that your spouse is chronically late picking up the children for his parenting time, show the text messages that say, “I’ll be there in 45 minutes,” “Can you drop them off tonight?” and “Can we skip this weekend?”  Likewise, your ex might act like an angel in court, but your screenshots of her text message tantrums can show the court her mean side.

How Can Your Lawyer Obtain Text Messages That Are Relevant to Your Case?

There are several ways to obtain text messages as evidence for a divorce case:

  • Pursuant to the Federal Stored Communications Act, your lawyer can contact the cell phone service carrier and ask them to provide the text messages from a certain range of dates.
  • The court can send a subpoena to the cell phone service carrier, requesting a copy of the text message records.
  • Your lawyer can ask the court to order your ex to provide certain text message records.

Yes, it’s possible to delete texts, but the cell phone service carrier will keep them.  Things get more complicated with messaging apps that don’t keep a record of the messages transmitted through them.

It’s Much Simpler If You Take Screenshots

The simplest option is for you to take screenshots of all of your ex’s lies, threats, promises, and contradictory statements.  Email the text messages to yourself and save them on your computer.

Contact Schwartz | White About Divorce in the Age of Smartphones

A South Florida family law attorney can help you gather the evidence you need for a fair outcome in your divorce trial.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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