Anything in writing may be used as evidence in a divorce proceeding, and that includes emails and text messages. In fact, electronic messaging has become overwhelmingly popular in such cases. Once printed and produced in court, emails and text messages can show verbal abuse, examples of wrongdoing and other related missteps the sender never wanted to come out. Even messages that have been deleted can be retrieved by professionals or by subpoena.
Printing out your own messages
If you need to preserve your text messages for an upcoming legal proceeding, be sure all the required information is available. The messages should show date and time plus real contact information for the other parties in the text conversation, such as phone numbers and email addresses. Various programs are available for both iPhones and Androids that will save and print text messages for court use. This kind of software will ensure your messages are preserved with a time and date stamp. The text messages will be saved on your computer, none of the information will be available to anyone else, and nothing will be stored in the cloud. You can also save by taking screenshots, although if several text messages are involved, this could be time-consuming since you would have to take shots of each individual screen.
The perils of text snooping
You can access text messages by reading them straight off a cell phone, or you can try to extract the messages, even those that have been deleted. You may think your spouse was having an extramarital affair and want to go through his or her text messages to get evidence in this regard. This can obviously be construed as snooping and any evidence you come up with might be inadmissible in court. In fact, if your spouse has a PIN to block the cell phone from use by anyone else, your snooping will probably be deemed unlawful.
Finding deleted information
If you believe there might be incriminating evidence in your text messages, your next step would probably be to delete them. However, electronic conversations in the form of emails can be retrieved by a computer expert, even if you thought they were erased from your hard drive. Text messages you thought were deleted can be retrieved by a computer forensic expert. The methods are many and they vary according to the make of the phone, the connecting components and the type of memory storage. Once found, the text messages can be saved for use in court.
Seeking legal help
If you have questions about text messages and legal proceedings, an attorney experienced with divorce cases can give you answers. Feel free to reach out to a marital law attorney who can help you navigate the world of electronic messaging as it relates to Florida law.