Whatever you say (or text or DM or even Snapchat) can and will be used against you in court.

Here are some rules to keep in mind before you hit the send button on your next email or text with your future ex-spouse. And remember, whatever you say, can and will be used against you in court.

During a divorce, communications with your spouse may get heated or even ugly.  It has been my experience as a Chicago divorce attorney that most litigants benefit from utilizing guidelines and maintaining a professional tone in their written communications with their soon to be ex. The goals are to minimize documents that may be used in court, reduce stressful exchanges and improve dialogue.

Rule Number 1:   Set up communication guidelines. . . .Minimizing emails should also assist in reducing the daily stress experienced when dealing with divorce issues. Now every time you hear the ping of your email you won’t get the feeling of dread as to …now what?

Rule Number 2:  Be professional. Be brief. Take the emotion out. . . take a deep breath and try to craft an email with a business tone.

Rule Number 3.  Read before you send. Wait 12 hours. Read again. Now send. . .There is a saying in litigation, “You can’t un-ring a bell.”  This theory holds true for emails and texts. Once sent you can never take it back. You may be a reasonable, rational person 99% of the time – but in a dark moment you chose to send a scathing email. We have all done it – and regretted it. Most likely, this will be used as Exhibit A in your divorce litigation to paint you as an unreasonable and irrational person. Opposing counsel will love it. The judge doesn’t know you and the person that you are outside of the litigation. The judge knows evidence and your email just became part of your spouse’s case. Don’t build their case for them.  It is rather humbling to see an embarrassing email penned by you splashed across a power point presentation in the court room.