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Can Text Messages Be Used in Divorce Court?

In any divorce or other family law matter to be decided in a California court, evidence will need to be presented by both sides in support of their arguments regarding the issues. In a divorce, these issues can range from child custody and visitation to spousal support and how marital property should be divided between the spouses. The evidence that you present to a judge can be presented in various ways, from documents to witness testimony, photos, emails, and more. As text messaging has become a common and easy way to communicate, these messages have become another form of evidence that can be used in court.

Text messaging has become the norm for most people. In the case of divorcing couples where tensions may run high, it is a recommended form of communication. By texting as opposed to phone calls, it can help couples avoid the possibility of conflict and animosity that could be simmering just below the surface. This is especially true for divorcing parents who may have to communicate daily about arrangements and issues concerning their children.

Texts are brief, to the point, and can be a form of communication devoid of emotion. They can provide a record of arrangements made, emergencies handled, and a parent’s behavior in regard to meeting his or her child-caring obligations. They can also reveal evidence indicating that a restraining order is needed, that a parent refused to turn over a child for a scheduled visitation, or that he or she is earning more income than has been stated. If you suddenly engage in a heated exchange with your spouse about any aspect of your divorce, the children, potential adultery, or more, those texts could come back to haunt you in court.

What Texts Are Admissible in Court?

Texts between you and your spouse that are relevant to your divorce issues are generally admissible in court. For that reason, you should have a system for saving text messages that you believe are pertinent to your case. Any messages from other parties may not be admissible, as they will generally fall under the category of “hearsay.”

Furthermore, under California’s no-fault divorce process, the court is not interested in the matter of fault or the misconduct you believed led to the breakdown of your marriage. Judges are only interested in evidence that will help them render a fair decision about dividing property, parenting plans, child support, and other divorce matters. Therefore, texts that relate to these issues would be valuable. Do you have text message proof that your spouse has engaged in harassment, acts of family violence, child neglect, alcohol or drug abuse, or hiding assets from the court? Perhaps you have text messages showing that your spouse refused to return a child or to honor your visitation rights.

Get Dedicated Legal Support from Cage & Miles

Text messaging is a matter that can be used for and against you based on its content. For these reasons, it is best to keep your texts simple and to the point. If more detail or explanation is needed to handle a matter, use email instead for clarity. Even with guidelines such as these, you may have concerns about how to deal with your spouse while a divorce is pending. For straightforward legal help, you can turn to Cage & Miles. Our firm has been helping clients throughout greater San Diego for years resulting in a well-earned reputation for competence and integrity.

Need help? Call us at (858) 943-2060 to arrange for a free 30-minute consultation with a San Diego attorney today.