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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 10-27-2009, 10:21 PM
Susan_22 Susan_22 is offline
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Default Recorded phone conversations

I believe my spouse has recorded our phone conversations and is threatening to use it in court. There has been many heated debates where both parties were not in control of personal emotions.
Neither myself or the other party have made any ‘threats’ but many negotiations about finances have been discussed. It seems like whenever an verbal agreement has been made the next time we speak it is no longer agreed.

Are recorded phone conversations legal in family court in Canada?

If so what is the cost of the transcript of these recordings?

Should I be worried about the recorded phone conversations?

Are these recorded conversations valid as agreements?
Old 10-28-2009, 01:52 AM
Stargate Stargate is offline
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They're inadmissible in Court. In fact, they're illegal.
Old 10-28-2009, 08:41 AM
Foredeck Foredeck is offline
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As per Wikipedia and google answer (I did not do more research, so take this for what it's worth), it's legal to record phone conversations with only one person consenting.

It quotes Bill c-46, but I am not sure. The link is broken, it just leads you to the justice department website.

If no threats were made, and you were reasonable, you should be fine, and I don't think the judge would allow it if his only goal was defamation. But, that is my non-legal opinion.
Old 10-28-2009, 08:55 AM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Foredeck is correct. As long as one party is aware and consenting, recording a conversation is legal.

Whether it is admissible in court, I guess it would depend on the case and on the intentions of the person bringing the recording forward. You would have to check with a lawyer in that regard.
Old 10-28-2009, 11:33 AM
dinkyface dinkyface is offline
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From a 'common sense' point of view (i.e. I have no experience!), I think your spouse would have to be very careful in how he uses this information e.g. *if* the recordings showed a consistent pattern of you responding with unreasonable conditions/objections to his reasonable requests, then he could use it. But I doubt any judge would take time to sit and listen to all the relevant recordings, so your spouse would have to first present a written summary of his claim. I would hope that any judge would see through an attempt to pick isolated statements and use them out of context.

What is illegal is recording a conversation in which you are not a participant.
Old 11-01-2009, 09:38 AM
Susan_22 Susan_22 is offline
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Thank you everyone for your replies.

In a legal stand point is there any way that I can receive a copy of the recordings?
Old 11-02-2009, 01:16 AM
Edward Edward is offline
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Originally Posted by Susan_22 View Post
Thank you everyone for your replies.

In a legal stand point is there any way that I can receive a copy of the recordings?
I agree with foredech and #1stepmom

I believe that if you know that he recorded you, you have the right to get the copies of the recordings from him. But to be 100% sure, ask your lawyer.
Old 04-09-2011, 11:02 AM
BobsurDad BobsurDad is offline
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I have been recording my pick-up and drop-off exchanges, with my ex.
They are frequently nasty and full of petty bickering and arguing.
Would they be admissable - if transcribed/verified - to show her behavioural pattern.
I am increasingly concerned about how and what she says in front of our girls.
What can i use/ not use? for the recordings...
Old 04-09-2011, 11:43 AM
Mess Mess is offline
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Above all anything you submit must be relevent. Do not assume that a judge will immediately understand it is relevent. You will absolutely not get a judge to listen to half an hour of recordings or 30 pages of transcipts and then decide on their own whether it is relevent.

The recordings do not simply stand on their own. It is your responsibility to start by making a point. The point is not that your ex is a jackass. That is not a legal issue.

You have a point which relates directly to what you are seeking in court. How does anything in the recording relate to what you are seeking, or refute what your ex is seeking?

Once you decide the point, then write out why the material is relevent to the point, what does it show and why does it matter.

Once you do that, pick out relevent quotes from the material to back up your reasons. List several quotes as examples.

Then do an executive summary page containing quotes from the material. The quotes shoud be short soundbites, relevent to your point. They should be accurately footnoted, referencing the complete transcript.

The complete transcripts should contain all of the conversation so that the other party can't argue that the quotes were taken out of context or made sarcasticly. The earlier footnotes should reference the correct paragraph and page in the transcript so that the judge or your ex or their lawyer can see where the quote comes from. You should highlight the relevent quotes within the transcript so they can be easily found.

The transcripts should be titled with accurate dates and times and should reference which disk or track on a CD that it can be found on a recording. The transcipts should ideally be typed out by third party, like a stenographer in a notary's office. If you want to save money you can type them yourself, but you need to have a notary listen to the recordings and swear that the transcripts are accurate. You should provide copies of the actual recordings on CD but understand that no judge is going to sit and listen to them, this is just to show that you are thorough and making full disclosure and to prevent any accusations of inaccuracy.

After all this, remember all you can do is submit it, you have no control over whether a judge will accept it as relevent. Remeber you put the odds in your favour by spelling out what point you want to make and just using brief sound-bites to back it up. The rest is just to prevent the other side from claiming the conversations never happened.

Finally, your lawyer will probably not want to deal with all this, or else will charge you thousands of dollars. Your lawyer knows a judge won't listen to recordings, so will at first glance just want to not deal with it. If you follow what I said and do it yourself and plonk it on your lawyer's desk in complete form so all they have to do is add it to the presentation, then you can easily insist it will be included.
Old 04-09-2011, 11:46 AM
walshch walshch is offline
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Recording conversations YOU are involved in is legal. If a charge is laid and the recording is relevant (evidence) to support a charge, then it has to be disclosed. The recordings are irrelevant to show 'behavioral patterns' and would not be used in Family Courts. Just because you know you are being recorded, doesn't mean you have a right to a copy. That would mean every time you go shopping where there is video recording, you could ask for a copy. Not going to happen, unless you committed an offense, were charged, and the recording was evidence.
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