Can Text Messages Be Used in a Divorce?

Can text messages be used in a divorce in Illinois? It depends upon the situation. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so you don’t have to show that your spouse did anything wrong in order to file for a divorce. You can simply cite irreconcilable differences. So, a text that shows your spouse had an affair probably won’t be of much help, because you don’t have to prove adultery or another reason to divorce.

But what’s in text messages could potentially be considered by a judge in disputes about property division and child custody. For example, divorce courts in Illinois can’t use fault to make decisions about how assets will be divided. However …

  • If text messages show that your spouse drained a bank account to pay for his or her affair, a judge might give you a larger share of assets to make up for this loss.
  • In other cases, text messages might be admitted as evidence when child custody and visitation decisions are being made. Text messages could be used to try to show that a spouse has anger issues, or is unstable, unreliable or has other problems that may not be in a child’s best interests.

These are just a couple of possible scenarios in which text messages might be helpful. The same could hold true for social media posts and emails.

Every Case is Different, So It’s Important to Speak with a Divorce Lawyer

Every divorce is unique. If you have questions about whether your spouse’s texts to you can be used in your divorce case, or about texts you’ve sent that could be harmful to your interests, it’s best to speak directly with a skilled divorce lawyer. An attorney with experience and understanding of Illinois family law will carefully review your situation. They will help you understand whether text messages may be beneficial or harmful to your interests, depending on the circumstances.

Save All Text Messages You Get From Your Spouse

If you are getting angry or other negative messages from your spouse, be sure to save them. Show them to your attorney when you start divorce proceedings. Your attorney will advise you about how they may help your case. If you’re getting messages from your spouse’s friends or family members that you think might be helpful in your divorce case, save those, too.

Take Steps to Show That Text Messages are Authentic

If text messages can’t be shown to be authentic, they may not be useful as evidence. Authenticity means that they show that the person you allege sent them actually did send them. Copies of text messages should:

  • Have dates and times clearly shown on them
  • Connect the phone number the messages came from to your spouse or other person who sent them.

If you have a long string of text messages that is strong evidence in your favor, don’t leave any of them out. Be sure to print, screenshot or photograph the entire string. On the other hand, don’t expect that every single text message you got from your spouse will be used in your divorce. Your attorney will help you decide which messages could have the biggest impact in your favor.

Can My Texts Be Used Against Me in a Divorce?

Of course, texting goes both ways. Your soon-to-be ex-spouse may also use your texts against you in a divorce. Here are some tips to help ensure that your texts don’t come back to haunt you:

  • If you are considering filing for divorce or are already in the process, keep texting to your spouse to a minimum. Also, keep text messages as polite as possible.
  • Try not to text about problems with your spouse or details of the divorce to family members and friends, especially to others who may be sympathetic to your spouse.
  • Don’t send angry texts to your spouse or about your spouse. Avoid calling names, alluding to getting back at them, or saying anything you think could possibly be used against you.

Use Caution: Your Texts Can Be Used Against You in Your Divorce

There is no doubt that going through a marriage break-up is stressful. Emotions, including anger, can often run high. However, anything you put in writing could be admitted as evidence. So think twice before clicking Send on text messages that might be used against you.

Can Social Media Posts Be Used in a Divorce?

As with text messages, social media posts may also show up in divorce cases. If you know of Facebook posts, Twitter tweets or posts on other social media platforms that may be beneficial, screenshot them, if you can, to be saved as evidence. And again, as with text messages, try to refrain from posting about your divorce or issues surrounding it on social media. Like text messages and social media posts, emails may also be used in divorce proceedings. The same rules apply for them—be careful what you put in emails. Also, keep copies of emails you receive that could help your case.

It’s important to point out that you should only get copies of these things legally. For example, if you have been directly sent emails from your spouse that could help you in a divorce, keep copies of those. But don’t attempt to hack into your spouse’s private email account to get copies of emails that could hurt their interests. These would most likely not be admissible and could get you in trouble.

Get Help from Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys

Whether text messages and other evidence is admissible in divorce proceedings can be a complex issue. Once we review your matter, we can advise you more closely about how they might help or hurt you. Whatever the case may be, our skilled attorneys will work hard to make sure marital property is divided fairly and equitably and your interests are represented in child custody issues and other disputes.

Our attorneys bring in-depth understanding of divorce in Illinois and the family law courts to our clients. We have successfully upheld the interests of thousands of individuals going through the marriage dissolution process. We can help you, too. Call our experienced divorce lawyers at (630) 305-0222 for a free consultation.