Best Practices: How to Preserve Text Messages for Divorce Court

To paraphrase the old saying, “Dance like nobody’s watching, and text like your messages will be read in court someday.”

Texting is an extremely popular means of communication. According to U.S. texting statistics reports, 97% of American adults text weekly, and we text twice as much as we call. On average, adults age 25 and over now send and receive 1,322 text messages every month–15,585 per year!

Printing out emails is easy, but documenting a text message conversation for court takes a bit more work. And in family court, parties frequently have to prove what information has been exchanged between spouses (or spouses with a third party) via text.

It is important to discuss with your attorney the best method to preserve your text messages if they are important to your case. The following options work for most mobile phones.

Take a Screenshot

An easy way to capture a message is to take a snapshot of it on your phone’s screen. Here’s how to do that on most Android and iPhone models.

iPhone 13 and other recent models: Bring up the text message that you want to document. Press and hold the side button (on the right side of the iPhone) and the Volume Up button at the same time. The screen will flash white and you’ll hear the camera shutter sound.

For iPhones with Touch ID, your options are:

  • Press the side button and Home button at the same time, or
  • Press the top button and Home button at the same time

Locate iPhone screenshots: Go to Photos, then Albums > Media Types > Screenshots.

Android phone: Hold down the power and volume-down buttons for a couple of seconds. Hold down the power key until a screen appears and tap Take Screenshot.

Locate Android screenshots: Go to Photos, then Library > Photos on Device > Screenshots.

This works great for capturing a few messages. If you need to document a long exchange, however, it may take quite a few screenshots to capture it in full. In that case, you’ll want to consider these options.

Copy Whole Conversations

iPhone: Follow these instructions to copy an entire text conversation from an iPhone. Afterwards, you will want to find the PDF on your computer and print it. There are also many apps that can be used for this task. We use one called Decipher TextMessage.

Android: Numerous free or inexpensive apps can transfer text messages to your computer. The SMS Backup & Restore app is free, and downloads whole conversations as emails to Gmail. The pro version is $4.99.

Ask your divorce attorney if your case warrants documenting certain text conversations for family court. If they do, you’ll be prepared.


With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, are highly experienced in high conflict divorces where depositions are common. We can provide the legal guidance you need.