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Before You Hit Send: The Potential Danger of Text Messages

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

text message, Lombard divorce lawyers"Merry Christmas"

These two words were the entire contents of the first-ever text message, sent on December 3, 1992, by a 22-year old software engineer. Since that time, text message communication has become a way of life, with upwards of six billion messages exchanged every day in the United States. Text messages are short, simple, and quickly accessible for nearly every American adult, which explains their explosion in popularity. However, the very same characteristics that make text messaging so convenient can also create problems for those involved in legal proceedings, especially proceedings related to divorce or children.

Too Available?

When you are going through a divorce or other matter of family law, you will most likely experience a wide range of emotions. Feelings of anger and betrayal can quickly transform into a sense of hope and new beginnings, then back again in the span of just a few hours. For the most part, you would probably not be inclined to call your soon-to-be ex if you suddenly got mad about something he or she may have done. With a cell phone in your pocket or purse, however, you may be tempted to fire off a quick text message, and that could be a mistake.

No Turning Back

Once you send a text message, there is no way to undo it. No matter how much you may regret sending it, apologies and rationalization are often of little use. If you and your spouse have chosen texting as an agreed-upon form of communication during your divorce, compose each message as if the judge in your case will eventually read it. Be clear in your words, avoid personal attacks, and try to remain focused on the matter you are addressing. If you receive a hostile message from the other party, keep it so you can show it to your lawyer, but do not respond in kind.

Context and Emojis

It is important to remember that the way a text sounds in your head is not necessarily the way it will be received by the reader. Informal, text-based communications are often composed with minimal punctuation, and with emotion or sarcasm open for interpretation. Emojis—the smiley face cartoon images ubiquitous in today’s text messages—can further complicate the intended message. Does a winking emoji mean that you are being flirty or that you are only kidding about what you said? If you must send messages, do your best to keep them clear. They may need to be a little longer to avoid misunderstandings but the extra time and energy are well worth the peace of mind.

Let Us Help

If you are going through a divorce or legal matter in which communication may be an issue, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney. At A. Traub & Associates, we will work with you to develop a strategy that ensures text messages will not add unnecessary complications to your case. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation.


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