Family Law Article – Secret Recordings

Eales & Mackenzie Lawyers Melbourne

If a couple separates, it’s one of the big, life changing events for the parties concerned.  Even with the best of intentions, emotions can take over, particularly where there are children, and people’s behaviour is not always at its best.  You might go and see a lawyer, to be told you need evidence, and with most relevant events happening in private the question is “How can I prove what my ex is doing?”

With everyone these days having mobile devices with them all the time, it is tempting, not only to use that device to make an audio, or video recording of an interaction, but also to think that that recording will be explosive evidence which will knock the other party’s case out of the water.  Unfortunately, that is not usually the case.

There are a lot of complicated laws around whether or not you can record your ex.  Recordings of telephone calls are treated differently from a recording of a private conversation.  Different kinds of devices may be treated differently under the law.  Each state has its own laws.

Sometimes, it is a criminal offence to record something.  For example, merely recording a telephone conversation could be a breach of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.  It is an indictable offence punishable by up to two years in prison.  Whilst perhaps not criminal, there are legal problems with other recordings which mean that anyone should think carefully before making a recording of another person.  At the very least, the Family Court’s starting point is that recordings are inadmissible so there needs to be a very good reason to get around that.

We all know that separation is difficult.  You should get advice about how all these things might work in your particular circumstances before engaging in an activity which might actually harm your case.  Contact Gordon Ainger for further information about using recordings in family law cases, or regarding any other aspect of family law.

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