Misinformation: Wiretapping

Should I try to record my spouse during a divorce, to catch them in the act?

NO!!!!   Drop the recording device!

Just because you have the ability to record your estranged spouse, doesn’t mean that you should.

Not only will the courts likely not admit this evidence, but you can also be putting yourself in danger of civil, and criminal liability.

Both the federal and state legislatures have created laws preventing a party from receiving private information, without the other party’s knowledge.

So what types of activities should you AVOID doing?

1) Wiretapping: recording or listening to a conversation without the other party’s knowledge

2) Videotaping: videotaping the other party without their knowledge

3) Computer Privacy Violation: intercepting stored information on another person’s private electronic device

4) Keystroke logger: a computer program that can record what a person types

These activities can be considered violations of federal and state law when they breach the other party’s expectation of privacy.


 

Though the wiretapping laws are stringent, there are several exceptions to the rule.

1. Consent to Record.

Florida is considered an “all party” consent state; meaning that ALL parties in a conversation have to consent to being recorded. Check out this chart to see the recording consent laws in different states. AGAIN, we are ONLY talking about Florida here. Every state has their own laws, so understand we are only discussing Florida. And the chart also discusses about the laws really only applying to both parties being in the same state so if they are in different states, then this article does not deal with that circumstance.

2. Expectation of Privacy.

Ask yourself: does the other party expect this information to remain private? If the answer is yes, the laws are stricter on how you can access the information. If the conversation is held in public, then there is a lowered expectation of privacy.

3. Information Sent to You.

The court allows evidence that is not illegally obtained, even if the opposing party never intended to send it to you.

4. Permission.

If the other party allows you to access their private, stored information, you can. However, if you are allowed access for a specific purpose, and you intercept other information, you may be violating the law.

The bottom line is: be careful how you gather evidence against your spouse or ex-spouse. It is not worth the risk to get information that the court will not even allow you to use.