Typically, the sender and recipient are the only parties intended to view a text message. Many people mistakenly believe their texts are private.
However, legal decisions regarding whether texts are admissible in court evolve daily. Divorcing couples are not immune to family lawyers obtaining copies of their messages to use as evidence.
You should consider what you say and how you say it when texting your ex. Sending a threatening message or sharing details about your private life can impact the outcome of the divorce proceedings.
Are Text Messages Admissible in Family Court?
The judge might consider the content of the text messages and how someone obtained copies to determine whether they’re admissible evidence during divorce proceedings.
Text messages alone cannot sufficiently prove marital misconduct, such as adultery. However, they can support claims of a spouse’s propensity for infidelity, illicit behaviour, and other offensive actions during the marriage that resulted in divorce.
Certain individuals can present text messages in court, including:
- A party to the divorce requesting a subpoena for text messages
- A party with legal access to prepare and submit a transcript with an affidavit
Avoiding illegal means of seeking text messages is crucial if you want to use them against your ex. A judge won’t hesitate to reject evidence obtained by fabrication, theft, or other illicit action violating the opposing party’s rights.
Will a Judge Look at Text Messages?
A judge might accept texts as evidence during your divorce if they can authenticate them. It depends on the circumstances of the case.
Judges often review text messages to determine the divorcing couple’s relationship and their relationships with the children they share. Looking at the conversations you have with your ex can provide a clear picture of your situation. The judge might allow you to submit texts your ex sent admitting to illicit behaviour during the marriage. Messages proving your ex’s financial standing can also be helpful if you’re seeking spousal support.
Text messages can determine one party’s credibility over another. The judge can consider the context of the messages.
What Should You Not Text During a Divorce?
Communicating with an ex during divorce by text message is risky. You should think carefully about your conversations and whether pressing the send button is wise during a tumultuous divorce. Even if you are on good terms, a negative or reactionary comment can negatively affect the outcome of your case if your ex decides to use it against you in court.
When going through a divorce, ensure every conversation with your ex remains amicable. If you are unsure of whether to discuss a specific topic, reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or your divorce lawyer. You are better off getting a second opinion than sending a message you cannot take back.
Below are the common mistakes people make while communicating with their ex during a divorce. You should avoid sending texts involving content such as:
- Bullying your spouse to do what you want
- Insulting your ex’s parenting skills
- Sharing obscene photos or videos
- Texting your ex despite their request not to
- Threatening your spouse with violence or vengeful acts
- Using excessive curse words or other offensive language
- Harassing your ex while they’re spending time with your children
- Using violent or aggressive language
- Discussing details about your finances, personal life, and other information that can hurt your case
- Admitting to mistakes you made during the marriage
Acceptable Text Messages During a Divorce
Although being careful about what you say during a divorce is essential, some texts are acceptable to send to your ex. You should maintain open communication regarding spousal support, property division, and other issues. Resolving those disputes now might prevent arguments in the future.
Talking about arrangements for child custody, visitation, and support is also important. If you have already worked out a schedule, stick to it. If a last-minute scheduling conflict arises, inform your ex immediately. You should be willing to adjust the schedule if unforeseen circumstances arise.
No matter what, never argue with your ex over text messages. Try to keep your interactions polite and respectful. If your ex tries to bait you into an argument, walk away. Reacting with aggression or offensive language can give them the ammunition they need to fight for the divorce terms they want.
Do Not Forget About Your Social Media
Texts are not the only problem during a divorce. You should avoid posting about your ex or divorce proceedings on social media. A judge can agree to enter posts on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms into evidence.
Although you might want to share updates with your family and friends, discussing any aspect of your divorce online can backfire. You must not badmouth your ex or comment on their character.
Boasting about expensive purchases and extravagant trips can also damage your case. Your ex’s lawyer can contradict your claims about needing spousal support by showing you lied about your finances.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Ontario Today
GDH Family Law, LLP, provides quality legal representation and services to clients in Ontario. We understand how overwhelming the divorce process can be. Knowing what you can and cannot do or say is exhausting. Let us guide you during each step so you avoid common mistakes that can lead to an unfavorable outcome.
If you want to learn more about how to use your ex’s text messages against them or worry about texts you’ve sent, call us at (416) 535-6944 for your free initial consultation with a dedicated divorce lawyer.