How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask LawTalk Your Own Question
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
LawTalk is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is it possible to obtain text records in order to support

Customer Question

Is it possible to obtain text records in order to support case arguments such as the spending of community funds, supporting atm withdrawals as to where the cash went? Not concerned about infidelity, but I would be curious if any texts could help a case on other issues
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

While it is possible to obtain such records, as a practical matter it can be difficult. Let me explain.

First of all, you must work very fast. In order to compel a cell phone company to turn over the text messages you are seeking, you must apply to the court for a subpoena to serve on the carrier. In order to get a civil subpoena issued you must have an active lawsuit on file with the court---for example a divorce lawsuit.

I have some experience in this area and you need to know something that the cell carriers will not tell you. That is that while they do keep a record of the text messages---the messages are typically purged from their systems after about 2 weeks---so it will be literally impossible to get the messages from the cell carrier unless you have everything in place to get the subpoena.

Another way to recover the texts is to file for divorce and ask the court to order that the cell phone in question be turned over to your computer forensic expert who can examine the instrument to try and recover the text messages which may have been deleted but which still may be present in the phone weeks or months later. This is often more effective than trying to compel Verizon to turn over text messages.

The usefulness of texts in the situations that you describe would not probably be very probative or lead to the discovery of admissible evidence---unless you were attempting to show a systematic pulling and hiding of assets in contemplation of divorce. The simple spending of community funds is not in and of itself illegal.

And in that case, the actual bank records would provide all the information necessary to proving the acts of asset secretion. I don't see how a cell phone text record would be of much use.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,