UPDATED: We live a huge portion of our lives on our phones. We talk, shop, and keep in touch in a myriad of ways. They’re so intertwined in our day-to-day activities, that it only makes sense things like text messages and social media posts also play a part in divorce, custody, and other family law cases.
Our founding partner, Rick Jones, regularly appears on the radio with Danny Bonaduce, where he answers family law questions from listeners. One Seattle father called in to ask what evidence he can use to get full custody of his daughter. He wants to know about text messages, Facebook posts, and the like. Rick discusses how they can be used in custody disputes, for modifying child support orders, and more.
The Caller Asks:
“My ex is abusive to my daughter. She keeps sending me text messages that say that she can’t handle my daughter, that she doesn’t want her, and that she is going to give her up to the state. She also sent me text messages saying that she is going to sign custody over to me. Are these messages legal in court?”
Text messages and even Facebook posts are useful evidence in a child custody modification. However, he elaborates that there is more to the process than just handing the judge the evidence:
“Text messages are one of the most important ways to give the court a feel for what is going on in the home on a day-to-day basis. The messages, in addition to text transcripts, emails, or Facebook posts, can all be provided to the court as evidence.
“However, this is not a slam dunk win. I wish it was as easy as just showing the judge the text messages, but there is a little more to it.
“In addition to the evidence, the biggest piece of the puzzle is going to be your declarations and how you use them to frame all the evidence up for the court.
“The individual messages are simply evidence that gives you credibility.
“Since your daughter is so young, the letters, text messages, and any evidence of abuse are likely going to have more impact on the court because it will cause the court to be very concerned about the child’s safety.”
Related Reading: My Ex Refuses Court-Ordered Visitation, What Can I Do?
Related Reading: The Cost of Divorce in Washington
In this episode, Rick also tackles these questions about divorce, child custody, and alimony.
- 1:19 – Are text messages legal evidence in divorce court? Can I use them against my abusive ex-spouse?
- 4:15 – My child support was based on active-duty pay. Can I adjust my child support payments?
- 6:18 – My spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. How long can she keep holding me hostage?