FAQs About Legal Recordings During a Texas Divorce Case
As you begin divorce proceedings, you may be wondering what is admissible in court. If you suspect your spouse is keeping something from you (perhaps an affair or hidden assets), you will want to collect as much evidence as possible to expose their deceitfulness.
If you are in the midst of a divorce, you need the guidance of the Southlake divorce attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law. Contact us today to find out how to best protect your family.
Can I Record a Phone or In-Person Conversation in Texas?
One issue that always confuses parties in a lawsuit is the matter of recordings. In some states, you need both parties to consent to a recording of a phone call or in-person conversation in order for it to be legal. Texas is a “one-party consent” state, meaning that only one party is required to consent to the recording in order for it to be legal. This pertains to any “wire, oral, or electronic communication.”
If two people both live in Texas, it is legal to record their conversation as long as one person consents to the recording. If you are one of the people on a phone call, then you can legally record the conversation.
However, if one person lives in a “two-party consent” state, and one party has not agreed to or is unaware of being recorded, then it is illegal to record the conversation.
Does Wiretapping Require a One-Party Consent?
Yes, wiretapping does also require one-party consent in Texas. If neither party knows that their phone call is being wiretapped, then it is a violation of both parties’ Fourth Amendment rights. In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the United States Supreme Court determined that it was unconstitutional to conduct a “search and seizure” anywhere that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. This covers electronic wiretapping.
In Katz, federal agents attached an eavesdropping device outside of a phone booth to listen in on Katz’s conversations. The court ruled that these recordings could not be legally used against him.
Can I Record My Child’s Phone Conversation with Their Other Parent?
It depends upon the circumstances. Even though a parent can consent on behalf of their minor child, a judge will normally not allow a recording of a phone conversation to be submitted into evidence if the other parent is not privy to being recorded.
Can I Take Videos of My Spouse?
Generally speaking, you can take a video of your spouse as long as it does not violate their expectation of privacy. For example, taking a video of your spouse in a bathroom or other private area, such as a bedroom, without their consent violates their right to privacy.
In Texas, this is known as an “invasive visual recording.” This offense is subject to jail time, which could be up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Contact a Trusted Divorce Lawyer Near Southlake
The divorce attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law understand the ins and outs of litigating a divorce. If you have video or audio evidence in your case, we can answer any questions that you may have. Contact us today to learn how we can offer you assistance as many residents in Southlake, Fort Worth, Denton, & nearby cities.