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TEXT MESSAGES ARE CHANGING DIVORCE

As discussed in the last post, it's not only social media that is increasingly showing up in divorce cases, but text messages are as well, and it's changing how the courtroom operates in Washington and throughout the country. For those currently in a divorce, a text message could single-handedly make or break a case. In fact, according to a recent survey, 80 percent of the members of the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers reported seeing more text messages in divorce matters.

However, not all judges are willing to accept text messages. In one case in rural Washington state, a woman used a program to forward all her ex-husband's messages to her e-mail account. Yet the judge in her case wasn't certain that that the evidence had not been tampered with. Also, some states only allow electronic evidence gathered by a professional to be admitted in court.

On the other hand, a text message was responsible for winning one custody case. In that case, there was a dispute about whether the father still had an alcohol problem, and he introduced substantial evidence tending to show that he did not. However, a recent text message he wrote showed him asking the mother, who he was presumably still married to at the time, to pick up beer on her way home.

Divorce in Washington and elsewhere can often be complicated, involving a host of issues. In order to tip the balance in their favor, both spouses may introduce evidence gathered from mobile phones. It is important then to consider the ramifications of sending a text message in haste.

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