Use of Emails as Evidence


#1

E-mails can be used as well as text messages and “journal” entries. A journal of this type would be admissable as long as it is not relating something that was told to you. Hearsay is more “A friend told me that she told them” sort of thing…All the judge or attorney would have to do is ask your ex if that e-mail was written by her…she could lie and say no but that is easy enough to prove.

Another option is recording the conversations. As long as one party is aware they are being recorded it is legal to record a telephone conversation. Radio shack carries just the thing for this for less than $100 and can attach to any phone line. There is no way for the other person to know they are being recorded unless you tell them. We used it…It may not help with previous conversations but may help in the future when the custody issues are discussed, instead of you having to remember. I still keep a journal with events that involve the children as a just in case it ever goes back to court…

I applaud you for keeping good records.


#2

The emails can be admitted as evidence, and they are routinely used in custody cases. However, evidence of settlement negotiations are not admissible in court. The court will not hear any evidence that relates to efforts that the two of you have made towards resolving this without coming to court. You can share whatever evidence you wish with a mediator, however the mediator is not a person who will make decisions, they will only try to help the two of you reach an agreement.

If your journal contains evidence about the custodial situation that is relevant to court, generally you would review the journal and offer testimony about what the facts you recorded in the general.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#3

I have saved a copy of every piece of email correspondence between my ex wife and I over the last two years, starting with the date of our separation. The emails contain the full header information to confirm delivery dates, times and IP addresses. I feel that a lot of what has been discussed in the emails can be used to demonstrate my consistent courtesy and cooperation with my ex spouse (regarding everything but particularly with custody issues). The emails also illustrate her consistent disregard for my attempts to work out a fair custody agreement.

I wonder if these emails can be brought up and used as “evidence” of her refusal to work toward the best interests of our children. Can they be shown to a mediator? Can they be brought up in court? As I said, all my correspondence has been direct and courteous and will only show me in a positive light, whereas she, throughout all the emails, is angry, bitter and refuses to cooperate.

As a follow up to the use of emails in court… I have an additional question about the admissibility of electronic records. I have kept a private journal of conversations with my former wife regarding custody and other issues. Can my notes be admitted into evidence or would they be tossed out as hearsay?