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Text messaging during your contested divorce- Just Say No!

LizSo you and your spouse have decided to go forward with the divorce. The time to disengage has finally arrived! Now would be an excellent time to change your text messaging habits. Text messages have become a favored method of communication across all ages and demographics. The beauty of the text lies in its spontaneity and the almost instant gratification of receiving an immediate answer. The downside of texting is it that it can be intrusive. Soon to be ex-spouses often complain that they are receiving messages at all hours of the day and night. The lightening fast speed of the text may lead to some less than well considered communications and in some cases extended and unnecessary arguments from a distance.   

According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers,  over 80 per cent of divorce lawyers report the increased use of text messages as evidence in court.  The memory on most cell phones is like that of an old -fashioned standard desktop. This enables folks to save text messages going back years, along with the date and time of the message. As if the content weren’t enough, texts may include photos or other “interesting” attachments.  

The cardinal rules of texting during a divorce are: First, do not write anything you would not want the judge to see. Second: If you are receiving inappropriate or aggressive messages from your spouse, do not respond in kind. Third: If you are angry, turn off your phone for at least one hour. Yes, you can do it! Believe it or not, there was a time in the not so distant past that we went entire lifetimes without communicating with anyone by text or email. Try it. You may find it engenders a certain quality of life in short supply – peace and quiet.

If you can’t resist texting your spouse, email may allow for a slightly more formal tone, but caution is needed here as well.   There are new web-based software programs on the market to facilitate and monitor communication among family members during and after divorce.  When you consult your attorney, don’t forget to discuss your text messaging habits and those of your spouse and your children. 

At the Rice & Rose Law Firm, we strive to resolve each of our client’s cases expeditiously, inexpensively and amicably. 

Posted January 3, 2014