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Remember or Record?

Posted on in Divorce

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It is all too common for heated arguments to turn ugly and for parents to say and do things in the course of a divorce proceeding that they wouldn't want made known in Court.  In a prior post, Don't Do Something Permanently Stupid Because You Are Temporarily Mad, we shared some advice as how to handle the inevitable emotions that clients experience while going through the divorce process. We warned against doing things out of anger that you can never take back.  Specifically, we advised that clients never put anything in writing that they would not want attached to a court motion and put in front of the judge.

Dealing with a spouse that won't communicate in writing during divorce:

If your spouse has received advice to not communicate in writing but is still or becoming verbally abusive it is generally not advisable to blindly record them for the record.

Smart phone technology has made recording audio accessible and convenient but it ultimately is not as easy as it looks.

In some circumstances, audio recordings of conversations may be permissible in court, but according to the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, the action of recording a perceived private conversation can be a felony offense. Illinois law prohibits the "surreptitious" recording of any conversation where a party to that conversation has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" unless all parties to that conversation have consented to the recording.

There may be some disagreement as to what type of acts would be "surreptitious," or about when one might have a "reasonable expectation of privacy," but having to face a criminal felony charge to determine the answer means the risks very often outweigh the potential benefit of having an audio recording of your spouse's rants.  What is more, the law also makes any recording created in violation of the Act inadmissible in any criminal or civil proceeding, so even if you make it, it is likely useless as evidence.

Bottom line, be very careful.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. According to the eyes of the court, it is simply not as simple as hitting the record button and keeping your phone in your pocket. It might even get you into hot water.

To learn more how you can protect your interests during a divorce, and to setup a consultation, contact our law offices - Pucci Pirtle - at 847-426-1866.

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