• Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Sound Recording my wife and children

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77888

Hi,

I'm new to the forum so please bare with me.

I need advice on a certain matter.

I'm sorry if this becomes long winded but I need to get this out.

Me and my wife have recently split up, we are currently living in the same house due to financial reasons but she has started seeing another man. She wants me to pack my things and move out so she can keep the house (joint tenancy) and be the main carer of our children. In my defense, I think that the children should stay with me in the house and for her to pursue the life she is clearly planning with someone else. The other man has also recently left his wife and child to be with my wife and is currently in temporary accommodation.

Now this is point of my post.....
A week ago my next door neighbors approached me with the concern that when I'm not at home they can always tell because when I'm not there they can hear my wife constantly screaming and shouting at the children and the results are that they cry.
So, I became quite worried for my children's welfare so I decided to record a day long sound clip to hear it for myself.
What it captured has shook me to the core with the foul language and intimidating approach my wife has showed towards them.

My questions are, Is what I've done legal? Can I use this recording in court? Would it help my custody case?

Thanks in advance

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77890

  • Yoda
  • Yoda's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 2641
  • Thank you received: 443
Hi

That's a very grey area, I only have experience with fathers voice recording handovers to protect themselves from accusations. I think perhaps this is something you need to speak with the mother or Childrens Services about if you have imminent concerns.

Are you in court proceedings at the moment?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DAD.info Moderator

I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77895

Thank you for your reply Yoda,

It's still in the early stages at the moment but she's threatening me with mediation/court if I don't move out. We agreed also that CSA wouldn't be involved and that we'd make our own arrangements but now because I'm sticking up for my rights as a father she's threatening to go down that route.
The only reason I chose to make the recording was because my neighbor alerted me to the situation and I needed to assess it for myself.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77903

  • Yoda
  • Yoda's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 2641
  • Thank you received: 443
Personally, I would take the bull by the horns and sort out mediation yourself asap. If this doesn't work and you are unable to agree finances and children arrangements, the mediator will sign off the forms for you to make applications for financial and children proceedings, they are two separate issues though in the eyes of the court. At mediation you can discuss both.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DAD.info Moderator

I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77933

A fairly similar situation to what I had but I didn't hear the shouting and screaming. The neighbours reported the situation to child services. I eventually got main carer due to the referrals to social services.

If it is shouting, as opposed to a typical telling off, it would appear to be child abuse and if you do not act accordingly it may come across to some that you do not care enough. It would be appriopriate that your neighbours, on hearing the shouting, contact social services but you should contact them as well with your concerns.

Others maybe in a better position to advise on the moving out but I wouldn't. If you think your kids will be better off with you stay put.

If she is "threatening" mediation, do not treat it as a negative it is a step towards resolution if you cannot agree terms.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last Edit: by Ethanhunt. Reason: spelling error

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77938

From my own recent experiences, I would say that you are perfectly within your rights to record your ex with regard to any kind of abuse or neglect. I have had similar experiences and recorded a multitude of audio and video to prove my case. I called the police and explained to them what I was doing and they were fine with it. Social services were then called in respect of the recordings and they got the police involved. The police and social services dropped the matter when they realised it was all part of the domestic situation I was involved in. A solicitor attended the interview with the police and both at the time and several weeks later he explained that I had done nothing illegal. Charges were never raised by the police as I could give a complete account of what I was doing and why. I explained that I would be using the recordings I had in court. I think the fact that I'd already called the police and explained my situation (part of which was threats from my ex's family) helped - it was already on record.

As to whether or not your recordings will be used in court is another matter but there is a sticky in the legal eagle section regarding this (or you can go directly to the site at www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed160225 - it reads....
What are the controls, limitations and requirements on audio and other recordings?
Under rule 22.1 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010, the court can control the nature of the evidence that it requires, as well as the way in which the evidence is to be placed before the court. The court is able to use this power to exclude evidence that would otherwise be admissible. That means that the judge can decide that a covert recording cannot be used in evidence. However, the judge's discretion is not absolute and it must therefore be judicially exercised. Clear reasons for the exclusion would have to be given because an appeal court would need to know how the decision was arrived at, what factors had been balanced and how the need for a fair hearing with the best evidence had been addressed.

Simply based on the fact that the courts will allow recordings (at the judge's discretion) I would suggest that this is another indicator that what you are doing is not illegal. If it were, recordings would never be allowed.

I also understand that if CAFCASS get involved they will collect any necessary evidence before the court proceedings.

To the best of my knowledge the only recording you cannot do is actually in court or if you are a business wherein you must inform the person involved that they are being recorded. Search for "RIPA recording" and you should find the relevant information although it's not that in-depth. The sticky in the legal eagle section was more helpful for me.

Please note, I'm just another dad like you in a similar situation. I'm not a solicitor and (although I don't think it is) I could be wrong. I'd hate for you to get things wrong based on partial or incorrect advice so please check first.
The following user(s) said Thank You: BestDadICanBe01

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last Edit: by Paul_6611.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77941

Good morning guys,

Thank you for your replies. It's a great help.
I just need to be 100% sure that what I'm doing is legal.
Should I let her hear the recordings and give her the chance leave the house and the children peacefully or go down the legal proceedings route (I can't afford solicitors fees etc)?

This is such a daunting situation for me, I've never been alone before and I'm genuinely frightened for the safety of my children.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 4 months ago #77942

Do you have the evidence you need to go to court? I made a list of all the things I wanted to record before I told her and then I kind of regret saying anything because she tried to twist every situation to make it look like she was an angel. Also make sure you don't use the recordings to intimidate her. Make sure you mention that you want to take her to mediation with a view to going to court so that your intentions are clear. Also record the conversation when you tell her.
It's a horrible way to carry on - you shouldn't have to resort to this kind of covert recording but as you say, if you're genuinely concerned for the childrens safety you need proof. From the experience I've had reading the posts on this site for the past nine months guys experience all kinds of accusations made with the intention of keeping the children from the father. You have to protect yourself and your children's right to have a father in their lives. Things can turn nasty quickly and the system doesn't really seem to be on our side. Finally, there are lots of apps available that you can download that will record your telephone conversations - they're a good way of making sure your ex doesn't make false claims and if you do start going down the legal route a great way of keeping track of what's happening. Things get pretty complicated and stress can make your brain go fuzzy.
If you do make further recordings, make sure they are audible and clear. I've read that a judge may dismiss them if they aren't clear enough.

Just as a side note, mediation is a lot easier than I expected it to be. The woman we saw was really nice and they do everything they can to be impartial. By the time mediation was finished for us I was really impressed with their professional attitude and I said to the woman that she was definitely in the right job. If she wasn't in the career she was in she'd have made an excellent diplomat. Try to draw up a parenting plan with good goals in mind to look after the kids.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last Edit: by Paul_6611.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 3 months ago #78217

Guys, thank you. So much for your input....
I'm sorry I haven't been on sooner to reply and update, things are all over the place. She's now using the kids as a weapon. She keeps saying I can have them and the changes her mind.
I've gone through the proper channels, citizens advice, police have now got the evidence, social services are now involved and I have an appointment with the solicitor on Monday afternoon. I'm going to start mediation proceedings on Monday morning too.

Last week I created a worry diary for the kids to write down any worries they have before they got to bed so I can read it and help them with any concerns they might have.
The next day my ex accused me if creating the book as a way for the kids to document anything she does wrong and she's accusing me of mental abuse towards the kids. This is the reason why shes being very awkward with the kids. Has she got the right to stop me having the children? She says I have them by her rules or not at all. Can she do that?
There's no court order to say I'm unfit or a danger to them.

I'm so confused and getting really frustrated now

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 3 months ago #78240

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 8561
  • Thank you received: 1815
Hi there

Thanks for the update, I think you've done the right thing by involving the various agencies. Whilst the worry book may be a good idea, it might be better to leave it for now as your ex is hostile towards it....even though you can make the point that it would be useful for you both to gauge how the children are dealing with the changes, it's for you both to make the transition as easy as it can be for your children and that was your only motivation in introducing the worry book for them.

Have you spoken to the school about the children being given some extra support, the school can provide pastoral care for them, a safe place to go and someone to talk to in confidence about what s happening at home.

At the moment I think you are doing all you can do to try and help your children, continue to encourage them to talk to you about their fears and give them lots of reassurance.

All the best

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 3 months ago #78241

Hello BestDadICanBe01,

I personally would not let your wife listen to or confront her with these recordings. If you did, you would be making her as wise as you are, forewarned is forearmed and the likelihood is she would concoct all manner of reasons and excuses and probably get even nastier towards you and the children. If she knew, I am of the opinion she would firmly stay put in the house.
Keep the recording to yourself until you need to use it in a positive way, then if allowed, it can be used to your advantage without her being forewarned and having the opportunity to invent a story where you are made to look the bad guy.

There are other more appropriate ways of progressing with this as others on here have mentioned.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last Edit: by MotherofaFather.

Sound Recording my wife and children 3 years 3 months ago #78248

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 8561
  • Thank you received: 1815
I agree, keep the recordings to yourself for now.

Without a court order she can do pretty much what she likes at the moment, I would have thought that as you are all still under the same roof, it would be difficult for her to keep the children away from you entirely?

Have the police and social services made contact with her yet? That will inevitably cause friction too, so I would advise being very careful to try and avoid conflict, especially in front of the children. It's likely to get worse before it gets better unfortunately, just focus on the children and give her as wider berth as possible.

The course of action you have enbarked on will take time, try and be patient and stay calm, she is likely to say things to provoke and hurt you, using the children as a weapon is an example of this. It's important you don't rise to it, or let it get to you. If there are no safeguarding issues, you are as much entitled to have a relationship with your children as she is.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Moderators: Samantha Downes