Can I Use Text Messages In My California Divorce?

If you are going through a divorce, you may be wondering what types of evidence you can use that may include text messages, DMs (direct messages through social media), and emails which can potentially provide evidence in court.

These days, communication often happens through text messages which is generally an easy way to talk with anyone, no matter their location, including your spouse.

Text messages are commonly used as evidence during California divorce proceedings, although not all text messages are considered equal. This article will discuss when and what types of text messages can be utilized as evidence in a California divorce.

Relevant Text Messages Between Spouses

California is a no-fault divorce state, so neither side is required to prove that the other person is the one responsible for the ending of the marriage. However, text messages between spouses can be submitted as evidence in a California divorce case. Remember, however, that your spouse has an equal weight to produce all your text messages.

Text messages can sometimes show the ugly side of a marital relationship, especially when the conversation becomes argumentative and when one or both parties send threatening text messages. Text messages can also prove that your spouse is engaged in an extramarital relationship or criminal activity.

Your divorce attorney can help determine whether or not your text messages are relevant, as you don’t want to waste the time of the court just because you are angry. Here are some valid reasons to submit text messages during a divorce and provide evidence that your spouse:

  • Is committing domestic violence, which includes verbal, emotional, mental, or physical abuse
  • Is neglecting childcare
  • Has a substance or alcohol abuse problem
  • Is harassing or threatening you
  • Is abusing or neglecting the children
  • Has chosen social engagements, work, or other personal pursuit pursuits over the responsibility of their child-rearing responsibilities
  • Is trying to hide marital assets

These issues and more can influence child custody, restraining orders, and the separation of assets. Your family law expert in Kern County, California, can help you decide if the content of the text messages is relevant to your case.

Relevant Text Messages Between Your Spouse and Third Parties

Should you have any reason to believe that your spouse has been sending messages to a third party that may be relevant to your divorce, you may also be able to obtain copies of these text messages through the formal discovery process.

For example, suppose your spouse is sending messages to a business partner that show incriminating evidence or having an extramarital affair. In that case, you may need to subpoena the person who is sending or receiving the text messages from your spouse to use them in the divorce proceedings.

However, make sure you avoid trying to access text messages by logging into your spouse’s phone or using any other snooping methods, as you could harm your divorce case. Make sure you discuss your legal options with an experienced family law attorney in Bakersfield, California.

Authentication Of Text Messages

All text messages, DMs, emails, and other electronic messages used as evidence in a California divorce court will be required to be authenticated, and you must prove that your spouse sent them.

The California Evidence Code also determines ways you can authenticate electronic communications. For a text message to be authenticated, it means that:

  •  The other person must admit to sending the message
  •  A witness must testify that they saw the message being created
  • A reply authentication must be shown, which happens when a reply message is sent in response to the original message
  • If a message references something that only the other person would know about or understand

Authentication is necessary to determine if you can utilize text messages in a California divorce if it verifies them as legitimate evidence. Your divorce attorney will be able to tell you how and if you can authenticate the text messages to use them in a California divorce.

To Get The Expert Advice And Help You Need, Contact Azemika & Azemika Law

At Azemika & Azemika, our law firm’s practice is exclusively devoted to family law. Our expert attorneys are here to help clients in Kern County with issues related to family law, including divorce, child custody and support, paternity, and more.

Every case is unique and navigating a divorce is often complex and emotional. We are here to help you and your family using our experience, skill, and expertise as attorneys specializing in family law. Contact us today for a consultation to find out how you can protect yourself and your loved ones during this challenging time.

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