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Video taping a phone call with a child for Family Court affidavit.

Hi everyone,

I have a question about preparing an affidavit for a family law court matter (final hearing in a few months).

I have videoed myself a few times whilst talking to my child aged 8 using speaker phone.  During some of the videoed phone calls my child would say things that would be of great benefit for my case.

Does anyone here know the law regarding this?  I am hoping to be able to quote from the videoed phone conversation things that both me and my child have said to each other.  Am I able to do this and provide to the court (if required) the video as proof of the conversation.

I would really appreciate any information regarding this, as to date have not received clear feedback from anyone else.

PAX there are some existing discussions regarding this topic. Searching for +listening +device, (i.e.clicking search at the upper right and entering +listening + device in the search field), will list a number of hits reading these will give you some idea of the answer(s) to your questions. The following is perhaps the most comprehensive and concise answer:

    MikeT said
    I've gone over the recording of phone calls a number of times.

You are correct, this subject has been done to death here particularly in the Family Law forums.

    MikeT said
    It is not illegal to record as long as you are not tapping into the phone system. A recording of a speaker phone is external the the phone system. What may be illegal is publishing the recording but that if I recall correctly is allowed for legal reasons. I know that some in the CSA are starting to not disconnect when they are told they are being recorded.

Publishing has a different context and to make publicly available is of course different from using transcribed material in a Courtroom.

Points to bear in mind:
The transcription should not be selective.
We are talking about Federal Courts  not State Courts and not State legislation.
The Family Court of Western Australia is partly set up under State Law so an argument can be expected under WA State Law vs Federal application.

Understanding and presenting case law properly are two distinct issues. You should be prepared for an objection from the other side. If you do not understand all the arguments and how to properly present them then you will lose against experienced Counsel.

    MikeT said
    However saying that I believe that recording a child is frowned upon by the Family courts. Perhaps the SRL's would care to elaborate.

Absolutely frowned upon, not only likely to be thrown out but extremely likely to earn a very strong rebuke.

This was found here.
Thank you.

I was wondering if by me actually videoing taping myself on the phone call (albeit using speaker) the use of the recording would have a different context in family law?

Things the child has said to me during the videoed calls are that they don't like the babysitter that the other parent has left them with for the entire day (and night), they want to come home to me, they miss home, their other parent telling them to hang up after only a few minutes of talking using various excuses such as "dinner time", "going for a walk", "we need to leave" etc.  Keeping in mind that I am only allowed one phone call per day within a certain one-hour timeframe.

I feel this information would be so useful to my matter, very frustrating if it's not allowed to be used in court.
PAX said
their other parent telling them to hang up after only a few minutes of talking using various excuses such as "dinner time", "going for a walk", "we need to leave" etc.  Keeping in mind that I am only allowed one phone call per day within a certain one-hour time-frame.

Not that I'm the most conversant with Family Law, but I suspect that you could provide better (less potentially controversial) evidence. If you are making the calls then itemised phone bills. If not then a diary, if you haven't kept on keep one (you have kept one in a way in that the recordings will be able to determine the duration of the calls, you just have to ascertain the dates), and perhaps, if it's possible, subpoenaed phone bills.

P.S. As a standard member you cannot make contiguous posts (re your other post). This is an anti-spam measure. However, you should be able to edit an existing post within a limited period of time (sorry I can't recall how long). However, I'd suggest that the Byrne v Byrne request is better suited to another topic anyway.
Thank you but I haven't yet found any information using the search function here re the particular way I am recording the phone calls with my child - by videoing myself whilst using speakerphone.  When I start the phone call I always show the phone to the camera, showing date and time, and at the end I show it again, showing duration of call.  I also have itemised call records for both land and mobile numbers.  What is relevant about the calls is proof that my child's other parent is interrupting the calls within a few minutes and encouraging my child to hang up, that my child asks repeatedly to come home, and that they are often left for long periods of time during contact weekends with a babysitter (day and night). In one sad, long phone call my child sobs endlessly, having spent all day and part of the evening with a babysitter and being told the same babysitter would be minding them all of the next day. Surely this sort of information is relevant and it is in the best interests of the child for it to be available to the court?

I've been videoing using "Photo booth" on my Mac, just sit in front of the computer and ring using my mobile phone.  I just need to know if I can quote from these conversations in an affidavit, but have the video record as a backup in case the court requires it.  All conversations are taped from beginning to end, no content is missing thus preventing the other parent from misconstruing part of the conversation.
PAX, the only thing that comes out of the phone is sound. So that's the only thing that is being recorded in response to the phone call as such. Just because the recording device has a greater capability doesn't change matters when dealing with a phone-call.
thank you.  So my question then relates to recording a phone conversation with a child.  The Byrne & Byrne issue relates to recording a conversation with another adult.  I cannot find definitive information using the SRL search regarding recording a child's phone conversation.

If anyone can clarify if this is allowed, given it is in the best interests of the child, I would be very appreciative.
PAX, the legislation, as quoted in Byrne v Byrne, simply states "a person …..". That includes a child. If there were other legislation then I guess that it would be called something along the lines of "The Listening Devices Act for Children" or "The Telecommunications (Interception) Act for Children".
What you are suggesting is fraught with danger and not recommended. The legislation is definitive but its practical application is best left to people well versed in it as it is technical and if you get it wrong, look out. The penalties are severe but the implications in your case could be terminal. You would need the surgical skill to present what you are intending and most barristers would not attempt it, for many reasons. 

I have advocated recording contacts between people, but as a defence or protection, against unfounded allegations, family violence allegations and similar.  To present this as evidence in chief will not put you in favour with the court and you will certainly be painted as an agent provocateur by  the other party.

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"

Executive of SRL-Resources
Thank you all very much for your advice.  I'm grateful you took the time to respond.
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