Is it legal to record in my state?

CAN YOU RECORD YOUR PARTNER

During a high conflict divorce, there may be a time where your soon-to-be-ex is ranting or threatening you and recording them can come in handy. Not all recordings are going to be admissible in court so ask your lawyer for advice. If your ex is stalking you or harassing you at the child pick up it may help to show the courts exactly what you are dealing with by picking up your phone and recording them. Please note that it is NOT ok to record in some states and you could be getting yourself into trouble if you attempt to use the recordings for anything legal.

If it is legal in your state and you feel that your partner is acting like a madman/woman recording could be a good validation tool. If you are in-person put an app on your phone that can record, turn on the recording device and capture them. If they threaten you this can be brought to the police to aid in getting a restraining order. Remember only if your state allows recording.

Federal law permits recording telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties. This is called a “one-party consent” law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. Furthermore, if you are not a party to the conversation, a “one-party consent” law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded.

In addition to federal law, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted “one-party consent” laws and permit individuals to record phone calls and conversations to which they are a party or when one party to the communication consents.

Legal to record in these states

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Delaware
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana

Maine
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
Nevada
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma

Oregon
Rhode Island
South Carolina
North Dakota
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


When do you need to get permission from everyone involved before recording?

Eleven states require the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful.

Two-party consent laws have been adopted in the following states

This means you must have permission to record in the following states

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

EXCEPTIONS TO RECORDING LAWS

  • Illinois’ two-party consent statute was held unconstitutional in 2014
  • Hawai’i is, in general, a one-party state, but requires two-party consent if the recording device is installed in a private place
  • Massachusetts bans “secret” recordings rather than requiring explicit consent from all parties
  • Although they are referred to as “two-party consent” laws, consent must be obtained from every party to a phone call or conversation if it involves more than two people.