Mark Ashton, a partner in our Exton (Chester County), Pennsylvania office and the editor of our Pennsylvania Family Law Blog, wrote an interesting post entitled "The Dangerous Trend in Electronics" on that blog.
To read the complete post, click here.
The post, among other things, discusses how people can be bullied by their spouses and significant others by the use of emails and text messages.
More and more, we are seeing emails and text messages attached as exhibits to motions and as evidence at domestic violence hearings and divorce and custody trials. As one of my adversaries likes to say, the "E" in email is for eternal. Put another way, when a person types and sends and email or text message, they create a piece of evidence that can be used against them. While most of the emails and texts sent each day are benign, more and more we see people act extremely inappropriately using these methods. Perhaps people are emboldened to be more brash because the communication, while direct, is not face to face. As such, it seems that almost every week I an suggesting that an email communication be toned down because they may be too aggressive. I am also telling people to limit the email discussions to factual and/or logistical discussions and not get into the nonsense, even if their spouse is doing so.
I have a case now where we have used a spouses emails against him and yet he continues with his aggressive, belittling and/or outrageous emails. While this will ultimately provide a treasure trove of information if there is a trial, it also needlessly drives of the hostility and legal fees. In another recent matter, a spouse was trying to use emails to drive a wedge between his wife and counsel.
The bottom line is twofold: (1) no one deserves to be bullied, even via email and text message, and the recipient of this type of abuse should take all necessary steps at self-protection and (2) litigants going through a divorce should be very careful about how they treat the other party in emails and text messages.