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When Text Messages Support Your Claims of Domestic Violence

text messages and domestic abuse

If you are going through a difficult divorce and believe there is text message evidence of your spouse’s violent predilections locked away in cell phone messages, can you use those messages to bolster your case in divorce court? Obviously, if you have those messages on your own phone, they are admissible to you to use court. What if the messages did not include you? Can records of those messages be subpoenaed? A local divorce attorney can answer this, and all of your local divorce questions.

Domestic Violence

More than eight in 10 victims of domestic violence are women. Somewhere across this country, a woman is a victim of domestic violence every nine seconds. The majority of these domestic violence assaults occur behind closed doors and are never even reported.  Over three million children are witnesses to this violence annually. Many of these children suffer from violent attacks themselves. Many women and children continue to suffer in silence, missing days from work and school, making excuses for their abusers, and living in fear and shame. Sometimes women have the courage to escape such relationships. When divorcing an abusive spouse, it is critical to provide as much evidence as possible documenting the abuse because it can have an impact on issues ranging from support to custody issues. Sometimes, cell phones and text messages are a treasure trove of such evidence.

Getting Your Hands on Text Messages

The first thing you need to know is that cell phone carriers, as a general rule, only hold on to text messages for a few days. That could make it nearly impossible to capture messages from weeks or months ago. Going forward, there are some things you can do:

  • Have your attorney write a letter asking the phone carrier to retain all pertinent text messages, as they are evidence to be used in court proceedings. The Stored Communications Act should be referred to in the request.
  • Have a subpoena prepared relating to the applicable materials.
  • Have an ex parte motion filed with the divorce court requesting involved parties to authorize consent to release the text messages of concern.

Instead of a Subpoena

Certainly, if one party to the messages is willing to print and share the text messages, they may be used as evidence. In the event you wish to get messages from the sender, your attorney may send a Demand for Inspection and Production of Documents or Things requesting either copies of text messages or the opportunity to actually inspect the cell phone itself. While it may not be possible to retrieve actual messages in some cases, it will be possible to determine when transmissions occurred, which can be very useful in cases of domestic abuse, when multiple contacts have taken place.

Creating a New Life

At Beck Law P.C., we believe every survivor of domestic abuse deserves the chance to make a new life. Divorcing your abuser is the first step. Our aggressive and experienced legal team will fight to get you the divorce settlement you deserve. If you live in Sonoma County, Mendocino County or Lake County California, you simply need to make the call.

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