Can Text Messages Be Used as Evidence in a Florida Divorce?
Many people who go through a divorce wonder what kind of evidence can be used during the proceedings. Often, text messages with your spouse are the first thing that comes to mind. But can text messages be used as admissible evidence in court in Florida?
Typically, spouses want to present text messages in a court of law to prove infidelity. However, in some cases, text messages may be irrelevant to your divorce case, especially if you are seeking a no-fault divorce in Florida.
Are Text Messages Admissible Evidence in Court?
In Florida, text messages are admissible evidence during divorce proceedings in court. However, courts do not simply accept text messages as evidence unless the messages meet specific criteria. Also, state law requires text messages to have specific authentication in order to be used as admissible evidence in court.
There are several grounds to lawfully use text messages as admissible evidence during a divorce case in Florida. As a general rule, text messages are irrelevant to a divorce case if the spouses are seeking a no-fault divorce. In fault-based divorces, on the other hand, text messages, social media posts, and other electronic records can be admitted into evidence during the proceedings.
Fault and Text Messages in Florida Divorce Cases
Most states, including Florida, have no-fault divorce laws. A no-fault divorce rule means that you can obtain a divorce regardless of whether wrongdoing or marital misconduct caused or contributed to the downfall of the marriage.
In Florida, the desire of both parties to end their marriage is the only thing that is required in order to obtain a divorce decree. Also, Florida courts can grant a divorce despite one party’s objection as long as at least one spouse wants to end the marriage.
Therefore, many couples choose to seek a no-fault divorce even though they may have grounds to obtain a fault-based divorce. It is common for spouses to opt for a no-fault divorce when the downfall of their marriage is caused by either party’s infidelity. In fault-based divorces caused by adultery, presenting text messages can serve as critical evidence to prove the unfaithful party’s marital misconduct.
How to Obtain Text Messages During a Divorce Case in Florida?
Federal law requires you to get the phone owner’s consent to obtain text messages from the phone company during a divorce case in Florida. In other words, text messages are not admissible as evidence if they were obtained through hacking or other illegal ways.
In fact, illegally gaining access to your spouse’s text messages can result in criminal charges and penalties. In some cases, the individual who receives a text message can voluntarily provide it to either party. Also, a party can be required to turn over text messages during a divorce case, especially if there are grounds for granting a fault divorce.
In no-fault divorce states, including Florida, courts are less likely to approve a party’s request to force their spouse to turn text messages over unless there is legitimate suspicion that the texts can serve as evidence to prove that the spouse wasted or hid marital assets. In that case, the text messages could affect the outcome of the divorce case, particularly alimony and property division.
Consult with a skilled Orlando divorce attorney to discuss whether you can use text messages as admissible evidence during the proceedings. Contact Donna Hung Law Group to schedule a case review. Call at 407-999-0099.