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Michigan Family Law Blog

Can Recordings be Used in a Divorce in Michigan?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Mar 13, 2024 | 0 Comments

Photo by Daniele La Rosa Messina on Unsplash

In many divorce cases there can be a lot of "he said, she said" regarding threats or admissions by one of the spouses.  Typically these types of conversations take place between the spouses  privately without any witnesses which leaves it up to the judge to make a decision who is lying based upon which spouse the judge believes is more credible.  However if one spouse has a recording of the conversations or threats, it is very hard for the offending spouse to deny the truth.  This begs the question of whether such recordings are admissible as evidence in a Michigan divorce case.  This blog is written to generally address this issue, if you have questions regarding your own personal situation, please contact us either by clicking this link or calling (248) 608-4123.

Are Recordings Admissible as Evidence in a Michigan Divorce Case?

This answer is that it depends on the circumstances surrounding the recording itself.  If you are a participant in a conversation, then generally you may record any conversation in which you are directly involved. So for instance if you are having a conversation with your spouse on the telephone or in person, either one of you may record the conversation.  There is no notice required to the other person that you are recording the conversation.  In such a situation, these recordings are admissible as evidence and can be very damning to the party that has made the threats or admissions.

On the other hand, you may not leave a secret recording device in a room, place a recording device on a phone, use tracking/recording software on a computer, or put a tracking device on someone's vehicle in order to capture recordings or track someone's movement.  First, this may actually be a violation of criminal laws and subject you to a criminal prosecution.  Second, any information that you might gain from this is not admissible in court and provides no advantage in a divorce case.  Third, there are often allegations of control or intimidation by one spouse in a divorce case and these types of recordings can be used to claim the secret recording is all part of a pattern of intimidation, control or abuse.  However, private investigators are allowed to track vehicles and conduct investigations, so in some cases retention of a private investigator might be beneficial.  In addition, open and obvious recording devices in the home, such as a "Ring" device might provide admissible evidence.

If you are considering a divorce and potential recordings might be an advantage or a problem in your case, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation through our website by clicking this link or by calling (248) 608-4123.  

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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