Text Messages That Affect a Family Law Case

Top Divorce Lawyer

Text messaging is rapidly becoming one of the primary methods by which individuals communicate. Unlike making a phone call or even sending an email, sending a text is quick and does not require any kind of lengthy conversation or polite chit-chat. Texts can be informative, to-the-point and helpful without being unnecessarily time-consuming. This makes this method of communication ideal for spouses navigating the divorce process and parents navigating child custody matters. It provides an opportunity to ask questions or touch base without having to engage in a potentially tense discussion.

However, this method of communication must also be treated carefully by those who are navigating family-related legal disputes. It is incredibly easy to send an emotional text message in the heat of the moment. And unlike the process of making a phone call, no one need overhear what you are saying, so you can be as blunt as you please without fear of judgment by anyone who may be around at the time you send a text. As a result, text conversations can become downright nasty in the blink of an eye. It is for this reason that individuals involved in family law disputes should understand exactly how texts may impact their divorce or child custody cases.

Think Twice Before Hitting Send

Text messages, like virtually all forms of electronic communication, may be used against you, your spouse, your child’s other parent or anyone else involved in your legal dispute unless the communication is protected by law. For example, if you send a text to your attorney, that text is likely protected by attorney-client privilege. This means that it cannot be used as evidence in court unless an exception to that broad rule applies. By contrast, texts between you and anyone affected by your legal dispute usually can be used as evidence in court because most forms of general communication are not protected speech.

It is worth noting that this general rule applies to other forms of electronic communication as well. For example, emails, posts on social media and even pictures can be used as evidence, depending on the circumstances. Say that the parents of a child were involved in a dispute about how much child support one should be obligated to pay. The parent insisting that he or she did not have enough money to pay child support sends the other parent a text bragging about a recent trip to Las Vegas. That text may be used to illustrate that the parent’s claims that he or she is too financially strapped to pay adequate child support may be unfounded.

Help Is Available

If you have questions or concerns about how electronic messages of any kind may affect your family-related legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced family lawyer. Lawyers who specialize in divorce, child custody and other family law matters will be able to answer your questions and advise you of any legal options you may have related to your situation. Asking questions of an attorney confidentially never hurts, but a failure to ask important questions may result in otherwise preventable negative consequences.