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How text messages affect divorce proceedings

by | May 27, 2018 | Firm News

Although many assume their text messages are private, that is no longer the case when it comes to divorce court. An increasing number of cases involve one or both spouses’ text messages coming up as evidence. 

New Jersey is one of the states in the country that considers adultery as an acceptable reason for divorce. As a reason, some spouses filing for divorce will want to obtain the partner’s text messages to prove adultery took place. A judge may bring this into consideration to determine how much alimony to award the other spouse. However, there are other ways texts can come into play. 

Legally obtaining the text messages

If you genuinely believe your spouse has committed adultery, then you may want to ask your attorney about acquiring a subpoena to acquire the text message. In some instances, a subpoena may not even be necessary. In the event you and your spouse share a family plan, then you may have a legal right to review the texts at your own leisure. 

One factor to consider is admissibility. The phone may contain steamy messages to a lover, but the spouse can always claim he or she did not compose said messages. In this case, you would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt your spouse composed the message.

Text messages are useful for more than proving adultery

Texting another romantic interest is the most common reason why spouses want to obtain their partner’s texts. However, there may be other texts you want to bring up as evidence in court. For example, things can become heated during divorce proceedings. Your ex may have sent a threatening message about child custody. 

You can bring this message to the attention of the judge to assert the fact your spouse is potentially dangerous. Similar to the point above, you would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what your spouse meant. Your partner can always claim you took a message out of context.