If you're divorcing in Pasadena, you might be tempted to send out a scathing text message to your ex. Sure, text messages are a quick and easy way to speak your mind, but experts are warning that what you text during your divorce can and will be used against you later.
According to a new study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), more than 90 percent of America's top divorce attorneys say they have seen a significant increase in the number of cases using evidence like text messages from smartphones.
"With emails, you can think about and rewrite them. There is a window of opportunity to rethink what you are saying but text messaging is immediate," said Ken Altshuler, the president of the AAML. "We get a lot of text messages that people send out without thinking."
Altshuler says the "spontaneous venting" that happens in texts can come back to haunt divorcing clients.
"I have used text messaging for cross-examination," said Altshuler, who has also submitted texts as evidence. "I would say in the last six months there have been a lot of text messages involved in litigation. For whatever reason, people are texting more and not thinking about what they are texting."
Texting was the most popular evidence taken from smartphones during divorce cases, followed by emails, phone numbers, call histories, GPS and search engine histories, according to the AAML poll.
Altshuler recommends divorcing people pause before they send text messages.
"Anything that is in writing, you have to assume that someday a judge is going to see it. So, if it is not something that you don't want a judge to see, don't write it down."
He also tells clients to stay off of Facebook while going through a divorce. Facebook ranked as the No. 1 source of evidence from social media based on a previous AAML poll.