Can Text Messages Be Used as Evidence During a Divorce?

man using cellphone

If you’re going through a divorce in which you believe your spouse did something wrong, understanding what kind of evidence you may be able to use is critical. In some circumstances, text messages may be used as evidence. As such, it’s imperative to understand when these communications can be deemed admissible in court and why connecting with a Los Angeles divorce attorney is critical if you believe the messages you have can help you during your divorce.

Are Text Messages Admissible in Court?

If you are going through a divorce, understanding what evidence can be used to help or hurt your case is critical. Many assume that the information on their phone is considered private. While this is often true, during your divorce, you may be required to turn over phone records detailing your text messages.

However, you should also know that text messages can only be used under certain circumstances. Under California law, all divorces are automatically “no-fault,” meaning neither party has to show that the other person did something wrong to cause the divorce. Additionally, the state follows the community property rules, meaning each party is entitled to an even split of assets.

In some circumstances, however, proving fault can help you receive a more favorable outcome. For example, if your spouse was having an affair and was using marital property to pay for their activities or hiding assets from you, the judge may grant you a bigger portion of the marital assets to compensate you for your spouse’s use of the funds.

It’s important to understand that text messages can help prove these instances. This can include text messages exchanged between you and your spouse, as well as your spouse and other people. However, you’ll likely have to subpoena the other party to turn over their conversations.

How Are Texts Authenticated?

It’s also important to understand that for a text message to be used as evidence in a California divorce, it must be authenticated. Unfortunately, many have tried to “spoof” or fake text messages from their partners or other parties to receive a more favorable outcome. As a result, the following requirements must be met to ensure the text message is legitimate:

  • The party must admit to sending the text
  • Someone saw the other party write and send the text
  • The text is in response to a message
  • The message includes information only the person would know about

Can an Experienced Attorney Help Me With My Divorce?

If you are going through a divorce and have text messages you believe could help your case or have reason to believe your spouse has incriminating messages on their phone, ensuring you connect with an experienced attorney is critical. Under no circumstances should you try to gain unauthorized access to their device to take their private messages, as this may deem the evidence inadmissible. Instead, your attorney can help you take the property legal channels to ensure any evidence you believe exists can be used in court.

Getting a divorce can be an incredibly challenging situation for many. As such, the dedicated legal team at the Zitser Family Law Group will do everything we can to help you navigate these matters. If you are going through a divorce, contact us today to learn how we can guide you through these complex times today.

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