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Can you record someone without permission and use it in a custody case?

Shelton, WA |
Filed under: Child custody

i got a protection order against my sons father. at court for the PO he didnt show. i was granted full temp. custody of our 8 month old son. he got supervised visitation with his mother when we(his mother and i) agreed. she would relay messages, read me notes he wrote and do all sorts of little things. without my permission she would record our conversations and play them back to my ex. he is now using what i said to his mother in court. he filied a proposed parenting plan then two weeks later i got served with a hearing court date for a final parenting plan. can he use what i said in the tapes even if he tries denying they were recorded and says his mom just told him what i said?

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Attorney answers 2


Read RCW 9.73.030 (Intercepting, recording, or divulging private communication – Consent required – Exceptions)

The statute for recording conversations might be accessed by you by clicking this link

In my state the answer is no. You need the permission.

See my Legal Guide Recording Conversations in Illinois

You need a lawyer because I do not practice in WA (I am in Chicago, IL). Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.

Good luck to you.

Again, check with a lawyer in your locale.

NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed WA professional attorney with whom you have established an attorney client relationship and all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.


It is saddening to hear of your troubles with your son's father. In considering legal matters related to children the Washington legal system used the "best interest of the child" standard. I hope you and his father are doing the same. In Washington it is a gross misdemeanor to record an individual without their consent. This is unlikely to benefit you in the underlying case. After all, I fail to see how it does your son any good to call the police on grandma. Further, even without the recordings, it sounds like the information being used was information you told her. Assuming their is some exception to the hearsay rule, like admission against interest, she will be free to testify to the information she knows. She doesn't need the tapes for that. Good luck and I hope things work out the best for your son.
At your service,

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