Can I Record My Ex-Spouse’s Conversations with the Kids or Others in My Home?

tape recorder / recordding divice to secretly record ex's conversations

As attractive as doing this type of recording might seem in a separation or divorce, especially if you think you can catch your ex saying inappropriate things to the kids, it is absolutely a violation of section 184 of the Criminal Code of Canada.  Whenever you intercept any conversations, to which you are not a party, whether it be by secretly placing a recording device, or hacking someone's email, you are committing a criminal offence, for which you could be charged and convicted.  Worse, except in extreme cases where necessary to protect a child's welfare, the evidence you collect would not be admissible in court - so you could not use it anyway. (Illegally obtained evidence is generally not admissible in court or at an arbitration hearing.) It does not matter whether you are recording the conversations while e you are not at home.  Just because a conversation happens in a house that you own does not allow you to record and then use it in court.  People have an expectation of privacy.  As long as that expectation is reasonable you cannot record the third party.  There are a limited number of circumstances in which a person may to have an expectation of privacy, but they are very specific - and a private home almost certainly would not qualify as an exception to the rule.

In addition, Family Court Judges really hate it when parents try to record conversations with kids - even if the parent is a party.  It looks like blatant manipulation, if not an attempt at parental alienation.

This video further explains the problem of recording conversation in family matters and also goes over some of the other big family law mistakes people commonly make.

The Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - $20 easy to understand book on Ontario Family Law and Ontario Family Court

The simple rule is do not even think about recording conversations in a family law situation unless you speak to a lawyer first.  If you can't afford to retain a lawyer, then set up a consultation with one to get some specific advice to your situation.  You may also want to pick up this $25 easy-to-understand book on Ontario Family Law to learn more about this and other family law issues.

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