The National Law Journal published an article last week about the impact of text messages on family law cases. Such messages can provide evidence of an extramarital affair, or produce other damaging statements in divorce/custody/domestic violence cases. I have also found it is common for separated parents to communicate with each other about their children via text messages. The article provides a few specific examples of cases where text messages were central and valuable pieces of evidence.
Once you have received a potentially "useful" text message, now what do you do? Contact your attorney right away...text messages are fleeting, and you need to be able to access and preserve them in a manner without altering them. Even if you do not actually alter the message, it can be problematic if the message is copied in such a way that you had the opportunity to change the message. Keep in mind that you cannot simply show the judge the message on your phone. The judge is required to make a record of everything that he or she has considered in rendering a decision. In some courthouses, you would not even be able to take your phone into the courthouse in fact. Some thought and proper planning is essential.