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Ignored Texts as Key Evidence in Divorce Case

The modes of communication have increased exponentially over the past decade or so, greatly changing the evidence seen in court cases. While an original, written document used to be the only evidence used, this has now expanded to include emails, text messages and other electronic documentation. This has changed the way courts look at evidence, especially in domestic relations cases.

A woman in Taiwan was recently granted a divorce based on the fact that her husband read, but never replied to her many text messages. Taiwan woman divorces husband who ignored her messages, by Cindy Sui, BBC News, Taipei, July 17, 2017. In that case, the wife communicated with her husband via the Line app, which shows when the text recipient has received and read the sent message. For six months, the wife sent messages via Line, including one telling him she was in hospital following a car accident. The few times he did respond, "it was about matters related to their dog and notified her there was mail for her, but he didn't show any concern for her," according to the Judge. The Judge used the ignored text messages "as key evidence of the woman's marriage being beyond repair, ruling that she was therefore entitled to a divorce." The Judge further noted the increase in types of communication: "Now internet communication is very common, so there can be used as evidence. In the past, we needed written hardcopy evidence."

While this case is overseas, it is an important reminder that, as technology and modes of communication change, the court system will keep up with these changes from an evidence standpoint. It is important to be careful about any form of written communication as it can always come back to be used against you, especially in a domestic relations case. Written communications, whether a hard document, email or text, can be very persuasive evidence because what the person actually wrote/said can be used against him/her or can be used to prove that his/her allegation against the opposing party is warranted. In the case above, even the husband's lack of response was used against him. As such, any time you are communicating in writing with another person, especially an opposing party, assume that the court will see the contents of those communications and communicate accordingly.


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