It is not uncommon for people who are in the process of ending their marriage to communicate with each other via telephone. In many instances, their conversations will become heated, and they will say things that could be perceived as threats. In other instances, they may make concessions or promises they would not make in front of their lawyers. As such, some people may attempt to record conversations with their estranged spouse to gain evidence to use at a divorce hearing or trial. Such evidence is often admissible and can detrimentally impact a person’s rights, and thus it is wise for people who have been recorded or who want to use a recording against a spouse speak to an attorney. If you or your spouse engaged in wiretapping, the trusted Dallas divorce lawyers of McClure Law Group can help you take the measures necessary to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable result.Texas’ Wiretapping Laws
In many states, it is illegal to record a conversation without the consent of both parties. Texas, though, is a one-party consent state. In other words, the wiretapping laws provide that only one person in a conversation has to consent to the conversation being recorded in order for the recording to be lawfully obtained. Notably, the person providing consent may also be the one taping the conversation. In other words, in Texas, an individual can legally be unknowingly recorded.
If one person in the conversation is in another state at the time of the call, however, different laws may apply. If neither party in a conversation gave permission for it to be recorded, any recording will likely violate both state and federal wiretapping laws. The courts do not look kindly on unlawful activity, and illegally taping a call could not only adversely impact a person in a family law case but it could also result in criminal penalties.
The Texas courts have also ruled that parents can provide vicarious consent for conversations involving their children to be recorded, as long as the parent has an objectively reasonable, good faith belief that it is necessary to protect the child.
Usually, it is lawful for a person to make a video recording of another party in a public place. If the person being taped is in a private location where he or she can reasonably expect to maintain privacy, such as a home, the recording may constitute a violation of the person’s right to privacy. Additionally, if the video contains audio, the Texas consent laws apply as well.Admissibility of Recorded Conversations in Texas Divorce Cases
Audio and video recordings can be used to argue a spouse has committed adultery, inappropriately diverted marital assets, engaged in abusive behavior, or failed to comply with a court order regarding child custody, child support, or alimony.
Generally, whether evidence is admissible depends on whether it was lawfully obtained. Evidence that was obtained via legal means, such as a consented to recording, will likely be admitted. The party seeking to admit the evidence must establish that it was lawfully obtained, accurate, and unaltered. Any recordings that were obtained illegally, however, will likely be precluded from evidence.Meet with a Skilled Attorney in Dallas
Advances in technology have made it easier for people to record conversations and use them as evidence in divorce cases. If you or your spouse engaged in wiretapping to use a recording in a divorce matter, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer about your options. The attorneys of McClure Law Group possess the knowledge and resources needed to help you fight to protect your rights, and if you engage our services, we will zealously advocate on your behalf. We regularly represent people in divorce cases in Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, and Frisco. We also assist parties with family law matters in cities throughout Dallas, Tarrant, Grayson, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall Counties. You can contact us via our online form or at 214.692.8200 to schedule a meeting.