If I’m going through a divorce where I will be seeking spousal support, can my husband subpoena text records from my phone on his account?

Asked on July 7, 2012 under Family Law, West Virginia


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In the modern age of technology, more and more records are available to use in divorces and criminal cases.  Many people text because they think they won't be available to be used against them.  Unfortunatey, text messages are rarely gone forever.  Your husband can sub the records-- but how much info he can or will get will depend on the state where the phone company is and their retention policies.  If it's an out of state subpoena, he'll have to jump through more hoops to get the records-- which takes longer than a regular sub.  If he is successful in getting the company served, then he still may not end up with anything.  Many companies will retain the info, like a text message was sent on "x" date at "x" time-- however, they will delete the data or the contents of the text message after a certain period of time.  So company wise, many text messages only have a limited existence.  However, the messages are often encoded on the phone or any computer that the phone had been plugged into... so he would probably have more success having a forensic computer expert look at the phone or any computer it had been hooked up to to get the message contents of any prior texts.

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