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Posted on Apr 22 on 2014

Many states including California have determined that texting while driving is not safe. It could be argued that these same rules should apply while you are going through any legal proceedings, especially in family court.

In today’s world, everyone is texting and emailing. Immediate responses to emails and text messages have become the norm and when you do not respond right away, there is likely a follow-up message asking for you to answer the initial text or email. All of this instant communication has many positives and has made our lives easier in many ways. However, there are certain drawbacks and in the context of a divorce or custody dispute it might be a good idea to take a step back from always clicking on reply without any delay.

Computer stored documents, social network communications, emails and text messages are all being used, at an increasing rate, as forms of electronic evidence (e-evidence.) These forms of communications have revolutionized how we engage with others, but it is also altering the types of evidence available to be presented in court.

As long as the evidence can be authenticated and is relevant, it should be admissible. All of those seemingly frivolous text messages, emails and Twitter or Facebook posts can all of a sudden become evidence in a legal proceeding. Because all of this information has the possibility of being presented in court, it is critical that during the course of a legal proceeding, and really at all times, you are thoughtful about what you are sending. Just because you have deleted that last text message you sent, does not mean that the person receiving it did not save it. In fact, with the memory of cell phones today and the multiple applications and programs available, it is easy to retrieve years of text messages and emails sent and received.

We divorce attorneys have seen a rise in the number of cases using evidence from smartphones. The most common form of evidence consists of text messages, then emails, phone numbers, call histories, GPS and Internet search histories.

A couple of questions to ask yourself before you hit send:

1. Am I okay with a judge reading this?
2. Am I okay with my children reading this?
3. Am I writing this out of anger and frustration or does it serve a legitimate purpose?

– Sarah Rosenblatt

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