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Can Secret Recordings or Photos of Your Spouse Be Evidence?

By Nottage and Ward on January 15, 2023

If you plan on getting divorced, you might wonder what evidence you can use in your case. In Illinois, questions on whether secret recordings or photos can be used as evidence are common. It can be tempting to record your spouse secretly if their behavior behind doors is much different from what they portray in public. Read on to find out whether you can use secret recordings of your partner as evidence and what is accepted as evidence in Illinois.

What Illinois Law Says

When it comes to recording a conversation to be used as evidence, most states only require consent from one party. This means that a person is legally allowed to record a conversation if at least one of them knows that the conversation is being recorded. For instance, a person can record himself on a call with another person.

However, Illinois’s rules are much stricter. It is an all-party consent state whereby you and your partner must provide consent for a recording to be admissible in court. If you record a person without their consent, it may be considered a Class 4 felony offense in Illinois. Even though this is the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean every conversation recorded without another person’s consent is illegal — there are several exceptions.

What Happens If You Record a Person Without Their Consent in Illinois?

As mentioned earlier, Illinois is an all-party consent state meaning all involved parties must give their consent for a recording to be eligible for use in court. If you record a conversation without another person’s consent in Illinois, it may be considered a Class 4 felony. The person you recorded may be eligible for various damages, including:

  • Punitive damages
  • Financial damages
  • All the involved legal costs

The laws in Illinois make recording someone without their consent a very costly mistake with consequences that outweigh any possible benefits. However, there are several exceptions to this law. For instance, it is legal to record a conversation with someone without their knowledge or consent if that person is committing a crime. For example, domestic violence is a crime in Illinois, and a secretly recorded conversation during this time is legal and can be used as evidence. Any actions defined as domestic violence, whether words or physical engagement, can be recorded without the person’s knowledge.

Can Voicemails Be Used as Evidence in Divorce Proceedings in Illinois?

Given that voicemails are created with the caller’s full knowledge that the conversation will be recorded, they can be used in court as evidence during divorce proceedings. Courts in Illinois have previously admitted to using voicemail content as evidence in divorce hearings. However, the recording must be verified and relevant to the case for it to be accepted as evidence. Anything other than that will be ruled out and discarded. You will need guidance from an experienced Chicago divorce attorney regarding the authenticity of a voicemail and whether it can help your case.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Attorney

If you plan on getting a divorce, the experienced and dedicated Chicago divorce lawyers at Nottage and Ward, LLP are here to help. You might not know what evidence is admissible in court and what could get you in trouble. Our team understands Illinois law and will guide you in handling your divorce. We will also provide strong legal advocacy and increase your chances of getting a favorable ruling. Contact us at (312) 332-2915 to schedule your consultation with our skilled lawyers.

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Posted in: Divorce

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