Many people believe they can get some kind of leverage in a divorce case by recording their conversations with their spouses or exes. What’s more, recording a phone call is now extremely easy due to the record functionality being available on virtually all smartphones.
In Illinois, recording a phone conversation is illegal.
720 ILCS 5/14-2 reads “A person commits eavesdropping when he or she knowingly and intentionally…Uses an eavesdropping device, in a surreptitious manner, for the purpose of transmitting or recording all or any part of any private conversation to which he or she is a party unless he or she does so with the consent of all other parties to the private conversation”
This would apply to a telephone call that is recorded or simply pressing “record” while your phone is in your pocket while you have a conversation.
There is a serious penalty for eavesdropping. “Eavesdropping, for a first offense, is a Class 4 felony and, for a second or subsequent offense, is a Class 3 felony.” 720 ILCS 5/14-4(a).
There are numerous exceptions to this law but they are almost all related to the law enforcement and never for conversations between spouses unless all parties know they are being recorded.
There is even a federal eavesdropping law with similar language and no interspousal recording exception at all.
While it may be tempting to “get evidence” this way, it is illegal and cannot be condoned. Your lawyer has numerous tools available to him or her to get evidence such as subpoenas and depositions. Allow your lawyer to use his or her legal skill set to get the evidence your case needs. Do not break the law!
If you want to get a record of the conversations you have with your spouse, the solution is simple: text them instead of calling or recording them! Texts are absolutely allowed into evidence and are not subject to eavesdropping laws.
Contact my Chicago, Illinois office if you have any further questions.