Mar 4, 2016 | Family Law

By now, most people realize that the things you say and do online can have a big impact on your divorce or child custody dispute. Taking evidence from social media sites like Facebook is now a standard practice for most family law attorneys. The general rule is: Don’t put anything online (even in a private message) that you wouldn’t want to be seen by a judge in the courtroom.

This rule doesn’t just apply to social media sites. It also applies to email and text messages as well. Any informal written, electronic communication with your spouse during the divorce or custody process could potentially become evidence later on.

A recent Huffington Post article titled “8 Texts You Should Never Send Your Ex” primarily focuses on the emotional consequences of sending these impulsive messages. Texts like “I miss you” and “Hey you . . .” are likely to be regrettable later on. They also tend to make it harder for both individuals to gain a sense of closure.

But more importantly, impulsive text messages can have negative consequences for your family law case. For instance, any message calling your ex a terrible parent or making other accusations could reflect negatively on you and your ability to co-parent peacefully. There is also the risk that your kids could somehow read the message, which would likely make the divorce harder on them.

Another example would be late-night messages, especially those that involve swearing or other aggressive language. You don’t want to give any reason for a judge to suspect that you are drinking heavily or otherwise dealing with divorce-related anger in destructive ways.

The divorce process is often lengthy, and you will likely need to communicate with your ex throughout – especially if you have kids. With this in mind, please be especially careful about when you communicate and how you do it. Impulsive text messages may feel good in the moment, but they could cause significant problems later on.