Can I Secretly Record the Ex and use this in a CA Divorce?

Pleasanton CA famiy lawIn many CA divorces, people will seek to gain as much evidence as possible to demonstrate their grievances. Many of them do this with the hope that it can help shift the divorce proceedings in their favor or towards a specific desired outcome. One of these common types of evidences includes audio recordings of conversations.

Before looking at this topic closer, it’s worth noting that California is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that individuals don’t need to prove any wrongdoing to seek a divorce, and additonal evidence might not be worth the trouble in many instances. That said, there are still valid reasons to come equipped with the proper information and for today’s post, we’re looking at the implications of secretly recording your ex in CA. 

One-Party Consent vs Two-Party Consent States

Whether a recording to be admissible in court centers on the concept of consent. In the U.S., most states fall into either one-party consent or two-party consent states. Here’s a breakdown of what that means:

One-party consent states allow for recordings to be admitted into court as evidence if one out of the two participants consents to the recording. Having unrelated or third parties record a call without the consent of at least one participant is illegal across the entire country.

Two-party consent states require consent for the recording from both parties in order for it to be considered valid evidence. California falls under the  two-party consent state category, which means that you cannot record someone without their consent. 

Evidence in Light of CA’s Two-Party Consent Status

Above all, the key thing to remember is that if your ex did not give you permission to record them, you cannot submit this as evidence during your divorce proceedings. Not only that, but recording someone without their permission can lead to various fines and penalties which can include up to a year in prison. 

With this in mind, it often isn’t worth the trouble to try and use audio recordings as evidence. If you’re gathering evidence or preparing for an upcoming divorce, you need to make time to consult with an experienced family law attorney. 

We at the Law Offices of James P. White are here to help guide you through any and all family law matters. Call us at 925-271-0999 to connect with us today.