Last week we introduced our series on text messages with a post on how to take a screen capture of your text messages.   This week we will walk you through organizing your text messages. 

At this point you have a collection of text messages in either .png or .jpg format.  You have probably emailed them to your personal email account.  Each text message overlaps with the one before it and the one after it so that it is clear that you have not selected points that make you look favorable.  There should be a date and time at the beginning of each text "conversation".   So now what?

You can send each individual screen capture to your attorney and have them organize it but even if they have their paralegal put it together it is going to be time consuming (translate to "expensive"). 

The better option may be to do it yourself.  We recommend downloading all the screen capture images to your computer and then inserting them into either a  presentation (such as Microsoft PowerPoint) or document (such as Microsoft Word).  If you do not have access to Microsoft, you can do the same in Google Drive which is free. 

Other important things to consider when putting these screen captures together:

  • Limit three to four screen captures per page.
  • Keep one text "conversation" to a page.  For example,  if you have only two screen captures detailing a "conversation" about exchanges for Thanksgiving then do not add a third screen capture which illustrates your ex's refusal to engage you in medical decision-making for your children.
  • If you have more than four screen captures in a "conversation" then make it clear that they continue by placing a title with the date "March 3, 2014 Page 1 of 4".
  • Limit titles on pages to dates or other neutral date-like information such as "Christmas Day" ,  "Casey's Birthday", or "Night Before Summer Vacation."
  • Do not include commentary directly on each sheet. We would prefer the commentary in a separate document.

As always, you should contact your attorney if you have any questions.

AuthorAdriana Torriente

Texting has become ubiquitous.  I text often but mostly when I need to communicate something quick and timely:  "OMW! order without me."   I often recommend to clients to text their spouse, former spouse, or child's other parent when they are running late for an exchange or when you cannot reach the kids for an evening phone call.

But litigants embroiled in high-stress family law actions send more than just "running late" texts.  In temporary protective orders, respondents will continue to harass the petitioning party.  Or the petitioner will invite the responding party over to their house contradicting their in-court statements that they are fearful of the respondent.  Sometimes, parents in a custody action exchange nasty text messages between each other regarding the quality of their parenting. 

Invariably, text messages end up as evidence in much of our litigation.  We often use it not only for content but also to establish timelines.  But when I ask clients to email me the text messages, they are often puzzled.  In today's post we are linking to websites which illustrate how to to do a screen capture (a photo of your screen) so that you can email your attorney these text messages.

Below you will find directions on how to take a screen capture on popular phone models.  Note that some of these links do not come from the manufacturer but from other websites and blogs. If you don't find your phone model in our list, you can search for the brand and model of your phone along with the text "screen capture". 

Apple iphone or ipad

Samsung Galaxy

LG Flex


Moto X


Blackberry 10

When capturing long text message conversations, ensure that every subsequent screen shot captures the last two or so lines of the prior screen capture.  This will make it clear to a judge or jury that you captured all of the conversation and not only the part that suited you. 

In our next post, we will explain how to organize the screen captures to send to your attorney. 

AuthorAdriana Torriente