Can I Record My Spouse During a Divorce?

Sun 20th February, 2022 Family Law

Not all divorces are amicable, and if your spouse is making threats or being verbally abusive during a divorce, you may be tempted to record them as evidence of their behavior. However, recording your spouse in a California divorce can backfire more than you realize, and there are other ways to find this evidence other than secretly recording another person. At the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler in Beverly Hills, our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate a difficult divorce. To learn more, call or contact our office today.

California is a Two-Party Consent State

Secretly recording your spouse during a divorce is against the law in California, as it is considered a two-party consent state. This means that anyone involved in a private conversation must consent to being recorded before it can occur. If you are caught secretly recording conversations, it can result in a misdemeanor criminal conviction, a jail term up to one year, and up to $2,500 in fines.

Another reason why it does not make sense to record a spouse during a California divorce is that this is a no-fault state. Evidence does not need to be provided to the court to prove a ground for divorce, merely stating that irreconcilable differences have broken the marriage are enough. Plus, if you inform your spouse that they are being recorded there is little chance of them engaging in the type of behavior that you wish to catch on tape.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are exceptions to the rule on secretly recording your spouse. For one, this rule only applies to private conversations and not to conversations that can be overheard in public. Recording a conversation in a public space without a spouse’s knowledge is permissible, so long as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, recording a fight that happens in a park is permissible, but using a parabolic microphone to record a private conversation between your spouse and someone else from across a restaurant is not.

Another exception to the rule is if your spouse leaves a recorded message on an answering machine or voicemail. A person who leaves a message is inherently agreeing to be recorded, so anything said on those types of messages can be used as evidence in a divorce case if it is helpful for issues like child custody or spousal support. Similarly, any written messages are also permissible to collect and submit as evidence without breaking state law, so long as you do not break into a spouse’s email or social media accounts to retrieve them. Anything posted publicly on social media, sent as a direct message, or emailed to you can be submitted as evidence in court. To learn more, talk to our office today.

Call or Contact Us Now

Do you wish to learn more about what types of communications you can collect in your divorce case? If so, the experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler are here to help. Call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.