Are Secret Recordings Acceptable or Relevant in a Mississippi Divorce?
If you are in the midst of a bitter divorce, it’s possible your spouse has done some pretty crummy things that have created feelings of anger, resentment, and the desire for revenge. In Mississippi, marital fault can impact property division, alimony requirements, and child custody arrangements to some extent, so if the grounds for divorce are related to issues such as adultery, drug abuse, or cruelty, proving evidence of as much might be helpful to your cause. You may be considering an array of tactics to get even or get ahead, including any and all actions that could tip the scales in your favor in divorce court. If one strategy under consideration is to capture your spouse’s most ugly moments indelibly on a strategically placed secret video camera or tape recorder, proceed with caution. As your experienced local divorce attorney can tell you, such action could lead to real trouble for you.
Federal Wiretap Act
Although you may have heard stories of high profile attorneys secretly taping clients, what you might not realize is that according to the Federal Wiretap Act, you are not allowed to record any conversations or actions to which you are not a party. That means you can’t secretly plant a recording device in your spouse’s vehicle, hoping to capture scenes of wrongdoing. In fact, even in your own house it is illegal to record conversations between other people without their consent if you are not involved in the conversation yourself. On the other hand, if you are a party to the conversation, whether it be on the phone or in person, federal law allows you to record it, unbeknownst to your unwitting spouse, In Mississippi, however, there is more to consider.
Mississippi views privacy rights and recording similarly to the feds. In this state, at least one party must consent to any recordings. If you are found guilty of secretly recording your spouse in activities to which you are not a party, it could land you in the State Penitentiary for as many as five years, and strap you with as much as $10,000 in fines (41-29-533). Even installing and operating the equipment to conduct a clandestine recording is punishable by a year behind bars and $10,000 in fines. In other words, secretly record yourself interacting with your spouse all you want; anything else is off limits.
Coming out on Top
At the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, our tough legal team understands your situation and knows how to fight unscrupulous spouses when it comes to divorce. Let our Jackson divorce lawyers go to bat for you, working for the best possible outcomes in your Mississippi divorce. Contact us today in our Jackson office to schedule a free, confidential consultation.