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Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1975
Experience:  Eleven years of experience in family law, from pre-nups, divorces, child custody and support mod
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I would liketo obtain a transript of text messages from Sprint.

Resolved Question:

I would liketo obtain a transript of text messages from Sprint. I have strong evidence my wife is having an affair, I am the account owner for both phones and have been told I have to have a sobpena. What can I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

The situation you describe sounds odd. I have more than one client who has requested cell phone records of similar sort, including text messages (they are kept for no more than a year, as I recall), and the records were always gladly and promptly provided to the primary account holder.

The most certain way to obtain the records would be to file a divorce case, get past the initial disclosures phase, get the discovery and scheduling order in place, and then get a subpoena issued. It could be a rare "for cause" divorce case, stated reason infidelity, and could then be voluntarily dismissed under an appropriate motion if the evidence proves lacking.

But as a practical matter, taking that two-month minimum approach could for other reasons end the marriage anyway.

Less certain would be formally pressuring the cellphone provider to cough up the records. Your phones, your rights, and you have no legal reason to have your privacy protected from yourself. The federal and state privacy and "protected records" statutes, as far as I have ever known, apply only to public records (like the driver's license information), or to disclosure to *others*, or financial records, and do not apply to any sort of privacy "rights" between spouses. Spouses enjoy confidentiality between each other, keeping their marital secrets away from outsiders--but not from each other.

Tactics to do this include going "up the food chain" to a supervisor, asking the person on the phone to specifically cite the federal or state law which prohibits non-subpoena release of an account holder's OWN records to himself/herself, and then following up with confirmation letters after each phone call. One takes notes of the number called, the name(s) of the person(s) spoken to, and what each person said would or could or could not or would not be done as a result of the call.

Further, if there is a citation to some (obscure?) law which the provider really claims requires a subpoena to release such records to the account holder, look them up yourself to make sure they are not mistaken or making it up.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have been told other companies do release this info to the account owner, if this is a sprint policy and you know of no law that prevents the release of it I will try "going up the food chain"
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 5 years ago.
Understood. I forgot to include in the earlier answer "from another provider". It may be useful to check your subscriber agreement and see whether that contract gives you any rights to demand *your* records. Same for the published "Privacy Policy". If there are rights listed there, it's a good idea to assert them.

On the other hand, even if there are no explicit or implied rights to obtain records relating to your own account, failure in those documents to give any notice of some internal policy restricting your access gives another avenue to argue with the people who are generally supposed to be serving you, the customer.

A gentle question about "whatever happened to 'the customer is always right'?" could also be persuasive. If none of that works, then the confirming letter after the phone call can make a provider of services look pretty silly.

Thank you.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had not been able to access this page again since I asked the first question..I did however get in touch with a security devision at sprint and they emailed a form to release info about numbers and times, no actual text is maintained "supposedly" so thanks for the advice.

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