Text Messages and Child Custody Cases
When it comes to family law cases in Nevada, both parties are required to provide evidence to the court to support their proposed orders for child custody, support (NRS 125C.0675), and property. The evidence presented may come in the form of documents, testimonies, or photographs. However, lawyers are increasingly using text messages as evidence for their child custody cases.
There is always the option to download and print out copies of text messages exchanged between spouses or parents and present them at a hearing or trial in Las Vegas as evidence. The text messages obtained could be from months or years back based on the type and kind of settings of the phone. The text messages can be used to try and prove a range of claims such as a spouse’s capacity to earn extra income, a parent’s refusal to give back a child or to form the basis upon which a restraining order is requested. Provided that the text message was sent by either of the sides, and it is a statement against the interest of the other party, then the courts may admit it as evidence.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you save these text messages in case you have a pending case in a Las Vegas family court, or are planning to file a case sometime in the future. This will really help to support your case later on in a Nevada court. While most mobile service providers usually save call log records, very few actually save the content contained in the text messages. And the few that do save this, will do so for a specified number of months. Hence, acquiring these text messages through a subpoenas can be almost impossible. Fortunately, there are various apps available that can help to turn text messages into PDFs that can be backed up to a computer or the cloud.
Under various exceptions to the Hearsay (NRS 51.035) rule in NV, presenting text messages that were sent by the other party in your case are admissible in court. But this won’t apply for text messages sent from any other person who isn’t the opposing party. For instance, in case you want to bring in a text message from your spouse’s new girlfriend, the girlfriend might need to be called upon to appear as a witness if you want to try and get this information admitted into evidence in Las Vegas.
What types of text messages are admissible in court for child custody cases?
The admissibility of text messages in court for child custody cases can vary depending on several factors, including jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances. However, there are common types of text messages that are generally admissible in child custody proceedings:
- Relevant Communication: Text messages that contain information related to the child’s well-being, such as discussions about visitation schedules, parenting plans, or concerns about the child’s health and safety, are essential for effective co-parenting.
- Agreements or Arrangements: Text messages establishing agreements or arrangements between parents regarding custody, visitation, child support, or other important aspects of co-parenting play a crucial role in defining the responsibilities and expectations between the parties involved.
- Evidence of Co-Parenting Ability: Messages that demonstrate a parent’s ability to effectively co-parent and communicate with the other parent respectfully and cooperatively.
- Concerns about the Other Parent: Text messages that express valid concerns about the other parent’s behavior or actions that may impact the child’s well-being, such as evidence of substance abuse or neglect, should be documented and shared with the appropriate authorities or legal representatives if necessary.
- Character and Behavior: Text messages that provide insight into a parent’s character or behavior, such as evidence of abusive language, threats, or hostile behavior, if they are relevant to the custody determination.
How can text messages be used to help prove a parent’s case in a child custody battle?
Text messages can be invaluable in helping to prove a parent’s case in a child custody battle. These digital records can serve as compelling evidence in court, shedding light on a parent’s behavior, communication, and overall suitability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for their child. Here’s how text messages can be used effectively:
- Communication History: Text messages provide a comprehensive history of communication between parents. Courts may analyze these messages to assess the quality of their relationship, cooperation, and willingness to work together for the child’s best interests. For instance, respectful and child-focused exchanges can effectively demonstrate a parent’s commitment to co-parenting.
- Parenting Agreements: Text messages can be written evidence of parenting agreements or schedules. If parents have agreed upon custody arrangements, visitation schedules, or important decisions through text messages, these can be presented in court to demonstrate the parties’ intent and commitment.
- Evidence of Parenting Skills: Conversations about parenting techniques, discipline strategies, and the child’s well-being can be used to prove a parent’s competency and commitment to raising their child effectively.
- Documentation of Concerns: If a parent has legitimate concerns about the other parent’s behavior or living conditions, expressing these concerns through text messages can create a record of their apprehensions, which may be relevant in court.
- Protective Orders or Threats: If a parent has obtained a protective order or messages containing threats or harassment, these can be used to argue for the safety and well-being of the child in court.
In court, it’s important to note that jurisdictions may vary in the admissibility of text messages, and establishing their authenticity is necessary. Therefore, consulting with a family law attorney is advisable to properly handle text message evidence and navigate the complexities of a child custody battle. Additionally, always ensure that your use of text messages complies with privacy laws and ethical considerations.
Can You Use A Text Message In Family Court?
Text messages are digital communications made or received via mobile devices. Text messages are acceptable as evidence at family court proceedings under Nevada law. When used as evidence in court, a text message can establish allegations of financial infidelity, child abuse, extramarital affairs, domestic violence, or other crimes.
However, verification is necessary before a text message can be admitted into evidence in a family court proceeding. Once verified, they can be used as evidence in your family law case and are admissible. You may learn more about the guidelines for text message authentication in a Nevada family law case from an experienced family law attorney.
Authentication Of Text Messages
For a text message to be considered authentic, it needs to fulfill these requirements:
- The communication was sent by or acknowledged by the other party.
- A witness witnessed the person who created and sent the message.
- The text message’s context suggests a reply or reaction to the original message.
- The text message’s referred subject was only known by the sender.
An experienced divorce lawyer can review the text messages, assess their relevance, and verify that they are reliable evidence in your family law matter.
Are Text Messages Relevant?
Furthermore, all of the evidence you provide in a family law or divorce case must be pertinent to the issue. Given that Las Vegas is a no-fault divorce state, a text message about desertion might not be significant in the divorce proceedings.
Moreover, the only communications that can be admitted in court are texts exchanged between the divorcing parties. Text messages may not be allowed in court if you obtain them from a friend or neighbor.
Text messages from outside sources are typically categorized as “hearsay.” Therefore, if you utilize text messages from your neighbor indicating that they witnessed your spouse being with their mistress as evidence of infidelity in your divorce case, the message may be ignored. However, if your neighbor consents to testify under oath in court, the judge can allow the communication to be admitted.
Awareness Of What You Say And Share Via Text
In a contested family law case, emotions often run high. Anything you say, do, or share can be interpreted as harmful to the other person. Even the most benign text can be misunderstood and used against you in court. Therefore, you must exercise caution in your speech and posts. Additionally, once you send a text, you may find it impossible to retract or undo it fully.
Additionally, avoid sending, sharing, or saying anything to your divorced spouse that could be used against you. Recall that your ex-spouse may utilize a text message against you in court, just as you can use it against them. Therefore, exercise caution when sending text messages and avoid using wording that could be misunderstood or omitted from context.
With that being said, it is equally important for you to be cautious about what you send in your text messages in Las Vegas. This is considering the fact that you can use your spouse’s text messages as evidence in your case, he or she can also use your text messages as evidence against you. If you issued threats or made certain admissions in your text messages, then these statements can be used against you to weaken your case.
Matters regarding the admissibility of evidence are complex and should be handled by an experienced child custody attorney. We have assisted dozens of clients to utilize text messages and other kinds of evidence to support their case. You can reach us at (702) 387-4014 to schedule an appointment to go over your case and the evidence that we can use to gain a favorable outcome. Call Huggins Law Office today to schedule a free consultation.