Don’t Make Tape Recordings In Illinois

PanasonicWayDBX1983

Don’t use this to record your spouse without their knowledge in your divorce. Not only is it illegal, it could hurt your case more than help.

As a divorce lawyer in McHenry County Illinois my client’s often ask me about tape recordings. In a worst-case scenario, a client comes in and tells me they’ve been recording telephone conversations with their husband or wife without the other side’s consent or knowledge.

I cannot put enough emphasis on this: Do Not Do This.

Illinois is a two-party consent state.  Therefore, if you tape record your spouse without his or her knowledge, you are breaking the law.  Yes, you may not be prosecuted, but do you really want to take that chance.  The tape recording probably won’t even help you — it is not admissible as evidence in the court proceeding.

Recordings can be used if they are taken with consent or implied consent.  Answer machine messages and voice messages are instances where the person being recorded is impliedly consenting.  Customer service lines sometimes tell you you are being recorded and you consent by continuing.  Absent these types of circumstances, though, it probably isn’t worth it.

I’ve practiced as a divorce lawyer in McHenry, Crystal Lake, Woodstock and the surrounding McHenry County are for a decade and I have yet to see a surrepetitious recording make a significant difference in favor of the party making the recording.  Usually, such a recording is used as evidence of the recording party’s inability to foster a relationship between the other parent and the child.