Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Can I Read my Spouse's Text Messages?

Many people who are going through a Pennsylvania Divorce or considering a divorce want to obtain information from their spouse's cell phones and emails. Text messages and emails are often important written evidence that can be used in a family court proceeding. There are several ways to obtain this information, however, if done illegally, the evidence obtained will be inadmissible in court.

The easiest text messages and emails to obtain and submit as evidence are any form of communication sent directly to the opposing party. As a person receiving or sending the messages, you already have access to them and can easily verify their authenticity. Any person introducing evidence must be able to authenticate it. The easiest way to authenticate these communications would be an admission by the opposing party. In the event that a spouse refuses to admit they sent an email, circumstantial evidence may be used to provide proof that they are the owner of the cell phone number or email in question.

Other text messages and emails can be obtained through the discovery process, by sending a Request for Production of Documents or Interrogatories. A personal computer bought during the marriage is a marital asset. The information contained within that computer is discoverable. However, if the computer is a business computer, the requests for information must be extremely specific and cannot be merely speculative statements. This applies for a phone that is owned by a spouse's employer as well.

Another way to obtain cell phone information during the discovery process is subpoenaing a cell phone provider. A subpoena must be sent by a licensed attorney who can provided cause for requesting cell phone records. In many cases, a spouse may object to the subpoena and request that the court deny access to those records.

It is a violation of both federal and state law to unlawfully intercept electronic communication. Any information obtained through this manner by a spouse in a family law case will be inadmissible in court. It is important to ensure that all methods used to obtain evidence in a divorce are done so legally, otherwise the information will be useless in helping present your case and can subject you to sanctions from the court. If you have questions about what information you can and cannot obtain during a divorce, contact our office today to speak with one of our Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyers today to discuss your options!

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