Text Messages and Emails in a Divorce and After Your Divorce

Virtually everyone uses text messages and emails.  If you are thinking about getting divorced, are in the middle of a divorce or you are already divorced, here are some rules and tips to guide you on how you should use text messages and emails.

THINKING ABOUT GETTING DIVORCED:

If you are seriously thinking about getting divorced, you should be very careful on how you use text messages and emails.  All text messages and emails can be – and will be – used against you.  However, the opposite is also true, the text messages and emails that your spouse sends you can also be used against him/her.

So, you want to be very cautious on what you say in your text messages and emails. It goes without saying that you should never threaten any type of violence or state that you are going to harm yourself.

You also want to keep any incriminating text messages and emails.  For text messages, you should print them out on a daily basis.  If you do not know how to print out text messages, consult with a computer specialist.  For emails, you also want to print them out on a daily basis.  Keep all the print outs in a folder or in storage – away from your spouse.  Do not write or make any marks on the print outs.  If you want to highlight something, then make a copy of the particular email or text message and highlight the copy only.

Before a divorce action is started, any agreement that you make in a text message and email, to your spouse, will probably be binding.  This is different than a text message or email made after a divorce (see below).

It is also a good idea to get a new email address and a new password, this way your spouse can’t hack into your existing email address.

IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIVORCE

Many of the rules and tips state above, apply to when you are in the middle of a divorce, however, of course, you should be even more extra cautious.

In addition, make sure that when you send and receive emails to your attorney that your spouse is not reading them or hacking into your email account.

It is important to note that you are not obligated to respond to every text message or email that your spouse sends you.  Oftentimes, your spouse is trying to bait you into saying something that you will regret later.  You can simply respond to a text or email with “confirming receipt, will advise if necessary”.

If you are in a middle of a divorce action, then any agreement in a text message or email, to your spouse, will probably be binding.  This is different than a text message or email made after a divorce (see below).

AFTER THE DIVORCE

Even after your divorce, you still have to be careful with your text messages and emails to your now ex-spouse, especially if you have children with your ex-spouse.

Unlike text messages or emails made before or during a divorce, if you and your spouse “agree” to something in a text message or email, that this “agreement” may not be binding or enforceable.  In most divorces, the divorce agreement or divorce judgment will control the terms and conditions of your divorce.  A simple text message or email will probably not be a binding contract.  Usually, in order for something to be binding, it would need to be signed and notarized, with the proper acknowledgment.  However, a court may decide that a text message or email, although, not technically binding or a contract, may decide that your text message or email is a contract.

Accordingly, it is difficult to predict if a text message or email agreement will be honored by a court.  Therefore, if you want to ensure that a text message or email agreement will be binding, you should: (1) get it in writing “on paper”; (2) have it signed; (3) have your signature notarized; and (4) have the proper acknowledgment.  It is important to consult with a divorce attorney on the proper acknowledgment.

At the Badanes Law Office, we give our clients real world advice and answer their questions about their divorce.  David Badanes has the experience to answer your questions from both a legal perspective and a practical perspective.  Mr. Badanes has helped countless clients in divorces in Suffolk County, Nassau County and New York City.

If you live on Long Island, Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn and need a divorce (matrimonial) lawyer, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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