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Is it legal to make audio or video recordings of my spouse in the state of Georgia?

This is an often-asked question in divorce and child-custody cases.

In the State of Georgia, it is legal to record telephone calls, if, and ONLY IF, you are a party to the call, and not just someone trying to eavesdrop. If you are on the line, and everyone knows you are on the line, you may record the telephone call, and you should record the call.  Georgia is a one-party consent state regarding telephone recording (O.C.G.A. 16-11-66; Sheppard v. Reid, 402 S.E.2d 793 Ga. 1991).  Calls recorded under these circumstances are admissible pieces of evidence that can be used in a divorce or child-custody case in Georgia.

The second variation on this question is “Can I record people in a public place, with audio and/or video devices?”

The answer is yes. For purposes of child custody, divorce, paternity or legitimation cases, you can record anyone and everyone if it is in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy.  Making a visitation exchange in the parking lot, or in a restaurant, or in some other public place ensures that there is no prohibition on recording your husband, wife, spouse, or the parent of your child.  You may keep your cell phone hidden in your pocket and make a recording, or you may have another party record video openly. The key is that there must be no expectation of privacy for any party to the conversation or exchange.

Of course, there are exceptions and nuances to consider, but those must be addressed individually. It is best to speak with an attorney before taking steps to make recordings in settings other than the ones described here.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm PC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm has offices in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs and serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309 or contact us.