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Social media, email and text messages can be used in your divorce case.  Think before you send, post or update anything.  Even the smallest inference could be used as evidence.

Most media (chats, web pages, social media posts or comments, etc.) can be found once it has gone online even if it is later removed.  Even social media posts on apps like Snapchat® or Instagram® can be saved as screenshots and later used in your divorce proceedings.  Digital records and social media accounts can provide an opposing legal team a robust source of personal information and details that can be used to develop a stronger case in your spouse's favor.

Avoid pictures, texts, posts or e-mails that could lead to a misunderstanding or imply any of the things listed below.  Even repeated calls or text messages that indicate erratic behavior could be used to damage the individual's character and/or parenting ability.  

Examples of digital media that could be damaging:

What can social media substantiate:

What are some ways to bring texts or posts into your case?

Note: Divorce laws vary in each state and family court.  Always refer to your attorney regarding the laws that may affect electronic messages and there retrieval.

Have your attorney draft and send a certified letter to the phone company to obtain the text messages as evidence.  The letter should site relevant provisions of the Stored Communications Act and any applicable state law.  

Your attorney can prepare a subpoena to obtain relevant text messages.  Serve the subpoena according to your state's laws for service.  You may need a "commission" developed in the state where the cell carrier's text message storage resides to ensure that state's service guidelines and laws are not violated.

File an ex parte motion with your Family Court.  Request the court to order the other party in the case to release the text messages.

You may be able to save or print messages or posts and produce those along with specific phone bill information that substantiates time, number and sender.

Ask your attorney to prepare a Demand for Inspection or a Production of Documents served to the opposing party to request copies of electronic communications or access thereof (in some cases, production of the actual cell phone). 

If the message was sent by someone other than the opposing party in the case, a deposition may be required.  Your attorney may draft and send a deposition subpoena to request the individual appear in the office for a deposition.


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