Can I Record Conversations with My Spouse During Our Divorce?

recordDivorces in Illinois are often hostile affairs, and former spouses may find it hard to be on their best behavior. In an effort to catch a moment of abuse or admission of guilt, spouses may attempt to record each other and use the recording for leverage later in the divorce. The ease with which modern technology allows us to record conversations can make it very tempting to do so.

However, recording a phone conversation in Illinois without the consent of both parties is illegal and the individual making the recording is engaged in a strategy that can backfire on them by risking serious legal consequences.

When Can I Record a Conversation with My Ex?

Illinois is an all-party consent state, meaning that, with very few exceptions, everyone on the call needs to know they are being recorded for the recording to be legal. This is true whether the call is just a regular phone call or takes place over a video platform. Recordings that are made “surreptitiously,” using deception, secrecy, concealment, or stealth, are violations of the Illinois eavesdropping law.

Generally speaking, if you want to record a conversation with your spouse, you need to let them know you are recording them. Even though there are exceptions to the Illinois eavesdropping law, do not risk serious legal consequences by attempting to be a detective and determine what is legal or illegal yourself. The law can be complex and difficult to understand, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

What Happens if I Illegally Record a Phone Conversation in Illinois?

Surreptitiously recording someone without their permission can be considered a Class 4 felony. The victim of the felony (the person you recorded) may be entitled to financial damages, punitive damages, and recovering their reasonable legal costs from you. Recording someone without permission could be a very costly mistake, with consequences that far outweigh the benefits you hoped for.

Are Voicemails Admissible as Evidence in Divorce Proceedings?

Because voicemails are created with the caller’s full knowledge that a recording is being made, voicemails can be used as evidence in court hearings. Illinois courts have previously admitted the contents of voicemails as evidence in court hearings, although the recording must be authentic and relevant to the case. A divorce attorney is qualified to tell you whether a voicemail is likely to be helpful to your case.

Speak with a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney

Getting divorced without the help of an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney exposes you to unnecessary risks and mistakes with serious consequences. Attorney Donald J. Cosley can counsel you on best practices during divorce and advocate on your behalf for a favorable outcome. Work with a team you can trust. Call Cosley Law Office today at 847-253-3100 to schedule your consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+IV&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=3900000&SeqEnd=5400000

https://ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=098-1142

https://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Resources/0ba472c5-5e23-40f0-b5dd-02a39cc4047d/1092196_r23.pdf

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