In my short career there is one thing that I’ve seen consistently derail both my cases as well as the opposing party’s. Text messages. For one reason or another people involved in contentious family law cases simply cannot stop sending text messages to the other party. I realize that that texting is standard for 2023, I also usually send text instead of calling. The problem isn’t necessarily texting itself, but what you are sending over text.

I have touched on this multiple times in several articles, but I feel like it is important enough to warrant its own separate piece. Written language loses many of the contextual notes that spoken language has. There is no voice inflection, it’s much harder to detect tone, and sarcasm can easily go over someone’s head. For example, remember that show The Honeymooners? The husband would often joke “One of these days, pow right in the kisser!” Now when watching the show, you could tell from his mannerisms and tone of voice that he was joking (joke being subjective). But if it was 2023 and he sends a text to his wife saying the same thing, it’s not going to be so funny.

At the end of the day, it comes down to self-control. If you are in a highly contentious case and you know the other party gets under your skin, don’t text them. Call them if you must communicate, but don’t create evidence against yourself because of a flared temper. I understand doing things in the heat of the moment, but for the sake of your case you need to put the phone down and step away. Find a distraction to bring you back to a calm place, because text angry is not going to end well.

I have also seen situations where parties will send text for no other purpose but to harass the other side. Please, please don’t do this. If you are texting when angry that can be spun and mitigated, but if you are texting for no other reason other than to be a jerk to the other party that is unredeemable. You are an adult in a lawsuit, not a middle schooler on the playground. No judge is going to look at those texts and think they are cute or funny when they have been submitted as evidence. And trust me the other side will submit them as evidence.