Is it Legal to Record Conversations in Connecticut?

This Week’s Blog by Lauren M. Healy

  • There is a difference between recording in-person conversations and recording phone conversations.
  • Clients often think that recordings will provide helpful evidence in a divorce proceeding. This is usually true only in extreme circumstances (such as abuse or serious custody disputes).
  • Recordings will not be admissible at a Hearing or Trial unless they are actually relevant to the issues in your case.
  • Recording every interaction with your spouse may have the unintended consequence of capturing something that could hurt your own case.
  • Recordings will generally be turned over to your spouse during the discovery process.

As experienced family law and divorce attorneys with offices in Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut, we are often asked whether it is legal to record conversations between spouses for use in a divorce case. The answer depends upon the circumstances.

Is it Legal in Connecticut to Record In-Person Conversations with my Spouse?

In Connecticut, it is legal to record in-person conversations with the consent of only one party to the conversation. As long as you are present for the conversation or interaction with your spouse, you can record it with or without your spouse’s knowledge.

Is it Legal in Connecticut to Record Telephone Conversations with my Spouse?

In order for a phone conversation to be legally recorded each person who is on the phone must consent to the recording in advance. If you, or your spouse, record a phone conversation without the knowledge of each participant, the recording will be considered illegally obtained and it will be inadmissible in Court. You may also be subject to civil action.  Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 52-570d; 53a-188.

Is it Legal in Connecticut to Record my Spouse’s Conversations with Other People?

In Connecticut, it is illegal to record conversations if none of the parties to the conversation give consent to do so. For example, if you hide a recording device in your home or your spouse’s car in order to capture his or her conversations with third parties, those recordings are considered illegal. Not only will the recordings be inadmissible at a Hearing or Trial, there may also be criminal implications for the recording party pursuant to Connecticut’s eavesdropping laws. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann §§ 52-184a; 53a-189.

Are Voicemail Recordings Admissible as Evidence in a Connecticut Divorce Case?

Generally, a voicemail message is considered a voluntary recording by the party who leaves the message and will be allowed in Court if it meets the other criteria for admissible evidence.

It is always best to discuss the issue of recordings with your divorce counsel. At Broder & Orland LLC we have we have extensive experience handling complex evidentiary issues, including recordings in Connecticut divorce cases, and can help clients assess how to address recordings in the context of his or her case.