You have decided to divorce your spouse, and you know they’re engaging in something they shouldn’t be—perhaps it’s infidelity, drugs, gambling, or something else that has pushed you to the point of requesting a divorce. Whatever you’re looking for evidence of, you’re wondering if you can record your spouse and otherwise track them.
In situations like this, it’s crucial to protect yourself and avoid dabbling in anything illegal. Learn more about how you can prove your claims by calling Coumanis & York at 251-336-3121.
What the Law Says About Recorded Conversations
Across the United States, there are states known as one-party consent and two-party consent states. In states like Alabama, a one-party consent state, you only need the permission of one person in the conversation to record it.
In two-party states, you must have both participants’ consent. This means that if you are in a conversation with your spouse and you consent to the recording, you may record it. However, you cannot record a conversation between your spouse and another person unless that other person consents to the recording.
Be Careful If Your Spouse Travels for Work or Pleasure
Note that if your spouse travels to a state where they enjoy greater protection under the law—that is, a two-party consent state—you must adhere to the laws of that state. This is the case even if your spouse happens to cross the border into a two-party consent state while you’re talking. Should you record them without their consent while they are in a two-party state, you may unintentionally do something illegal.
Where Can Your Spouse Expect Privacy?
What about recording your spouse’s activities while they are out and about? This comes down to where your spouse has a reasonable expectation of privacy. If they are in a place where they could reasonably expect privacy, you cannot legally record them.
For example, if they are in their own home or at work, they should be able to enjoy some degree of privacy. Recording them in these areas could put you squarely in illegal territory. However, if they are grocery shopping or at the gym, they naturally run the risk of being recorded by you or someone else. Please note, though, that private businesses often have their own policies against recording, so you could end up banned from local businesses if you follow your spouse and record them.
Avoid Treading into Illegal Territory
As you may have noticed, it’s incredibly easy to start off doing something legal and accidentally start engaging in illegal activity while gathering evidence against your spouse. This is very dangerous for you, and you risk not only ruining your family law case but facing criminal charges. No evidence is worth that.
How to Stay Safe While Gathering Evidence
So, if you know you need evidence in order to request a fault-based divorce but you’re not entirely sure where the line between legal and illegal is, what are you supposed to do? This is a great time to talk to your divorce attorney about your options. Private investigators were made for scenarios like this one.
They have invested substantial time and effort into learning what is and isn’t legal, and how to get necessary evidence without running afoul of the law. While private investigators aren’t inexpensive, the evidence they provide may be more than worth it if it helps you get the fault-based divorce you are seeking.
Another benefit of getting a private investigator? They are far better at evading detection than you are. No matter how quiet and discreet you think you are being, you’re likely much easier to find than you think. Once your spouse knows that you are following them, expect them to become much more careful about their activities.
Choose Coumanis & York for Your Divorce Case
No matter where you are in the divorce process, a divorce attorney can be a huge asset to you. The team at Coumanis & York is ready to guide you through your divorce, whether it’s fault-based or no-fault. Give us a call at 251-336-3121 or send us a message online to have someone reach out to you.