Are voice recordings admissible in the family courts
Parties, parents, usually record conversations at home which shows child abuse or threats which can be used as evidence in divorce and parenting cases.These recordings when shown to the court are convincing enough to grant remedies or approve arrangement prayed for the applicant parent.
There are however some limitations with recording private conversations through phone, audio or video. Some states prohibit organisations from recording conversation. Even listening to private conversations are disallowed. They cannot be used as evidence in any court of law. A word of caution to parents who wish to record conversations and incidents with their ex, you cannot always do that. It is imperative to gain familiarity first of the laws in your jurisdiction to avoid legal conflicts.
It is a common practice for ex-husbands and wives to record incidents and conversations with each other and their child. Some parents usually record phone conversations with their ex of any threatening language which may convince the court to grant divorce or grant child custody, as the case may be. Others record events or acts showing child abuse through the use of video and audio tapes. These pieces of evidence are rather important when shown to the court as they can be compelling proofs.
The more important thing is knowing what are your limitations. The act of recording phone conversations or listening to them may be disallowed in some states and jurisdictions. It is proper to consult first with a law expert as there are some jurisdictions which control the use of phone and video recordings. This is to avoid possible legal conflict as well as penalties in proper cases.
Federal Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979, Privacy Act 1988 also prohibits using listening devices by organisations (not by persons). In New South Wales, Surveillance Devices Act (NSW) 2007 prohibits the mere installation of recording or listening (including overhearing) devices and listening to private conversations which you are not a party to. When you are not a party to the conversation and you wish to record, consent of all parties is necessary. The law’s purpose is to protect the interest of any person making the conversation.
Of course there are a few exceptions which you must be aware of. Surveillance Devices Act (NSW) 2007 does not list hearing aids for those with hearing impairment as a listening device. Prohibition does not also apply when the principal party himself consents to the listening or recording. A principal party is the person speaking or being spoken to in the conversation.
Recording may also be allowed if the purpose is for interest of the principal party. If your child for example is a principal party to the conversation with your ex, you can record the conversation as evidence in a pending case brought in behalf of the child’s interest. Also, the law allows recording when the person has no intent of publishing or making known the substance of the conversation to another.
In any case, if you wish to record a conversation, consult first with a lawyer to know if it is appropriate and legal in the state where you live.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.