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Text Messages in Divorce Cases


Text messages in divorce cases revealing adultery (one of the most important grounds for divorce) can be used as an electronic evidence for divorce. Using text as evidence makes the divorce procedure smoother and easier. According to a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers text messages are becoming more and more important in divorce proceedings. The points elaborating the usefulness of text in divorce cases are discussed below.

Storing messages

The cell phone companies normally express their inability to save or extract text messages. According to T- mobile spokesperson, the company cannot discuss this issue at all. As per Mark Siegel, the industry analyst relations for AT&T wireless and the executive director of media, he doesnít know the way to save a text message, other than just not deleting it from the handset. He says that AT&T stores text messages for 48 hours to ensure that they are delivered, after which they are deleted.

According to Debra Lewis, from Verizon Wireless, the best and only way to keep a message is to keep it on a handset. She further elaborates that her company doesnít keep text messages on their servers for any duration of time. However, a subpoena is required to get the copies of the messages, if there is any chance of retrieving the messages.

The text and photo messages cycle through the servers, and are no longer available if the phone company does not store them. In order to get calling records and text messages for use in investigations, the company usually works with law enforcement agencies. For the average user, the best chance of saving a message is not deleting it.

Examples of text messages in divorce cases

Divorce lawyers have found new electronic evidence in the form of text messages. According to the layers the evidences relating to infidelity, bad parenting or threats can be found in text messages sent over hand held gadgets. The unfaithful spouses, in particular are paying a high price for their salacious messages. Some real examples of using text in divorce cases are:

  • Recently text messages proved embarrassing for Nevada government. Wife of Jim Gibbons alleged in the court that her husband had an extra marital affair with two women. 860 text messages were sent by Gibbons on a state cell phone to one of them. After that Gibbons publicly apologized for sending the texts, which he claimed was related to business. He had to reimburse the state $130.
  • Text messages were also the evidence in the divorce proceedings of multimillionaire George David and his wife Marie Douglas. It wasnít about infidelity but Marieís lawyer accused George David in the court of sending his wife a text message on her birthday as he didnít want to speak with her. In the settlement later Marie Douglas demanded $100 million plus $1, 30,000 a month as alimony.

Text messages in divorce cases are not limited between the spouses alone. There are cases showing, where text messages are being used by the children to show that they are having a hard time living with their mother.


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