Can a recorded telephone conversation be used in divorce hearing?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a recorded telephone conversation be used in divorce hearing?

I have a recorded phone conversation of my husband threatening to punch me in the
face and to take my children away.

Can this be used in a court of law to show mental distress

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, but there is a risk in using it. 
1) In a civil case, you can use and document or recording regardless of how you obtained it, so long as it is overwise admissible. Since you were on the conversation and can testify as to its authenticity, and since this would constitute an admission by a party-opponent (by the other side), it is admissible evidence.
2) But in your state, it is a criminal act to record a conversation unless *everyone* involved in the conversation consents to it being recorded. Unless your husband agreed to be recorded, it was criminal to record him, and so using it in court is admitting in court to  a criminal act and you could potentially face prosecution.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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