Text Messages Used In Arizona Divorce Proceedings
Subpoenaed Messages Can Be Used In Arizona Family Law Cases
Text messaging has quickly emerged as one of the most popular and convenient methods of communication. However, texting does come with drawbacks. It’s easy to send messages to the wrong recipient, and autocorrect can result in a deviated message. Another issue is that text messages can be reviewed at a later date, unlike oral communications. If you have an impending family law matter, you may be wondering how text messages will come into play in your case.
What Privacy Rights Do People Have Regarding Text Messages Being Used In Family Court Cases?
Just because text messages can be used as evidence in a court of law doesn’t give you full license to obtain them through any means possible. No one has the right to go through your things and steal your phone to obtain text message evidence off of it. This also includes hacking or using software to access text messages on a phone other than your own.
Should someone want to access your text messages for use as evidence in a trial, they generally must first obtain a subpoena from the court. Because the judge will be reviewing this request to invade your privacy, it must be reasonable and relevant to the matter at hand. Otherwise, your text messages may be deemed inadmissible, and be excluded as evidence from your case.
Text Messages Used In Arizona Divorce Court
Arizona is a no fault divorce state, so you don’t need to prove the reason you want to get divorced unless you are in a covenant marriage. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about texts with your secret lover being aired out in divorce court. However, text messages can be used to prove many other arguments in family law matters. They can be used as evidence in protection order proceedings, as well as to prove who should have custody of any shared children.
If you and your ex communicate frequently over text messages, you should be sure to always keep your composure, or these text messages could come back to haunt you. Being rude is one thing, but threatening text messages will be taken seriously by family law judges. If you have a “dark” sense of humor, you should save these jokes for people besides the opposing party in your family law case.
How Popular Is Using Text Messages As Evidence?
The popularity of text messages as evidence increases every year. More and more courts are creating procedures for admitting text messages into evidence. If you have any text messages between you and your opposing party that are relevant to your case, you should understand why this is true. In fact, more than 90% of family law attorneys report using text messages in their cases.
Text messages are especially popular as evidence in custody matters. They can be used to prove disputes and disagreements about parenting styles, when either parent is late for pickups and drop offs, and more. You should let your attorney know if you and the other party frequently communicate through text messages, and inform them of any potentially damaging conversations.
The Admissibility Of Text Messages
If you or the opposing party has incriminating or embarrassing information in their phone, it will probably take a subpoena to access those text records. Otherwise, accessing these messages could possibly be an invasion of privacy. If you are a party to the text messages, you have the right to share them in court. There may be an argument over text messages that are obtained through family plan membership.
Your ex can’t bring up just any text conversation in court to humiliate you. For example, a conversation about an intimacy issue has no relevance in a child custody case. Texts that prove you were unfaithful (usually) don’t have anything to do with property division. You should also keep in mind that text messages aren’t concrete proof of anything in court. They are just proof of a conversation or statement.
How Do I Use Text Messages In a Divorce Against my Spouse?
The first step to using text messages in court against your spouse is by saving any text messages that are relevant to your case. You should keep these conversations in a secure location, and not omit your own responses, even if you are embarrassed about them. If you omit your own responses, your ex can bring the full transcript in court, which could damage your perceived trustworthiness.
You will also need to prove that the text messages you intend to use actually are from your spouse. Make sure your transcripts show the full phone numbers, and you will need to testify that the transcript is truthful and the other party is who you were texting. This also requires corroborating the date and time of the conversation. You can use screenshots, your phone bill, and cell phone provider records as text message evidence in your family law case.
Getting Legal Assistance With Your Arizona Family Law Case
When you are involved in a family law matter, your best bet at your ideal outcome is to retain a competent and professional family law attorney. Your attorney can help guide you how to best use text messages to achieve your best results in a divorce, child custody battle, or any other family law case. Don’t let the other party manipulate your text messages in court against you- a family law attorney will protect you from this kind of misconduct.
Our dedicated staff and attorneys at AZ Family Law Lawyers have been representing clients just like you for years. While each case is unique, experience gives family lawyers a better ability to predict the opposing party’s actions, and the judge’s responses. This is your future, and possibly that of your children as well, on the line. At the very least, you should speak to a professional who is well-versed in Arizona family law to learn about your rights and options.
Your quote for legal representation may also be more affordable than you previously thought. To see for yourself, call (480) 833-8000 to schedule your free consultation.