With today’s smartphone technology, our cellphones can do so much. Our phones are cameras, video recorders, voice recorders, computers, clocks, stopwatches, calculators, etc. all rolled into one small, handheld device. Considering all that our phones can do, it’s not surprising that so many people would consider secretly recording their spouses with their phones to obtain solid evidence in a divorce case.
But is this practice ethical, legal, and is such evidence even admissible in court? If you have been thinking that secretly recording your spouse or your children would be a good way to gather evidence for your Pennsylvania divorce case, you may want to think again.
Are Recordings Admissible in Court?
All too often, husbands and wives spend hours recording their spouses mistakenly believing they’ll be able to use the evidence to nail them in court, to finally offer clarity to the “he said, she said” argument. In reality though, it’s very impractical to try and use secret, nonconsensual recordings in a divorce proceeding. Why? For one, because they’re often illegal. They can violate state and federal wiretapping and privacy laws.
It’s common for a client to walk into their attorney’s office, confident that they have incredible evidence on their phone that will surely help them win in divorce court. However, the very recording they think will be the proverbial “nail in the coffin” can actually lead to their spouse filing criminal charges against them.
Recordings Counteract No-Fault Divorces
If you have any hope of having a cheap, no-fault divorce, better put the recorder away. Not only are nonconsensual recordings virtually inadmissible in court, but they can set the wrong tone for your divorce case. In other words, by violating your spouse’s privacy rights, they can anger him or her, increasing the chances of a litigated and costly divorce.
Additionally, judges encourage parents to have free, respectful and open communication. When a parent secretly records their spouse in a child custody battle, it can erode the judge’s faith in his or her ability to create a healthy co-parenting relationship. If you truly want an affordable, no-fault divorce, you’ll want to reconsider recording your spouse.