Too chicken to call your ex and tell him what you're really thinking? Now more than ever, divorced moms and dads are using their BlackBerrys and Facebook accounts as their go-to methods of communication after a big breakup.
But don't be so sure that your ex will be the only one to read your snarky comments: He just might hand them over to his lawyer. Turns out, texts are being used in the courtroom -- and can be viewed as actual evidence of a person's character. We sat down with family-law attorney Brad LaMorgese to delve a little deeper into this phenomenon.
momlogic: Why texting? Why now?
Brad LaMorgese: Rapid exchange of information is so readily available -- more than it has ever been in our history. It is amazing how many people in the last 10 years are writing and communicating so much. This has led to the creation of lots of evidence that can be used in court proceedings.
ml: How can text messages hurt or help someone if used in court during a divorce and/or custody hearing?
BL: Text messages and social-media postings can mostly hurt somebody in court. They can show a pattern of abusive or threatening behavior against another spouse. A court will take this into consideration in a property or custody dispute. Text messages and e-mails can also show a pattern of either good or bad co-parenting. This can obviously help or hurt the parent. So text messages and e-mails can be useful when showing that a parent is appropriately communicating with the other parent. A judge is more likely to make the parent who is appropriately communicating the primary parent of the children. This is based on the logic that a parent who encourages a child to have a relationship with the other parent is better than the parent who does not.
ml: What advice would you give a client about texting their estranged spouse, even if they think they are good terms?
BL: If you feel a need to vent, call your lawyer or mental-health professional. Do not send your spouse or ex-spouse a message through an e-mail, text message or the phone. All of these things can -- and will -- come back to haunt you as evidence in a court of law. If you are communicating appropriately and your spouse or ex-spouse is not, your writings can be used to aid you in your court battle. It would not hurt to run these communications by your lawyer.
ml: Is this just a trend, or do you think this method of post-breakup communication is here to stay?
BL: This communication, without a doubt, is here to stay. In fact, we will probably see many additional forms of communication as technology continues to advance.
Moms, what do you think about texting your ex? Perfectly OK -- or no way?