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Recording Conversations of a Minor Child

Is it legal to record a conversation between your ex-wife and your child?  To begin with, the law is the same even if you were never married, so the broader question is whether you can record conversations between your child and their mother without consent.  First of all, you cannot record private conversations without permission, based on Michigan’s eavesdropping statute (Michigan compiled laws section 750.539c).  This then would suggest that you cannot.   But what if you have joint legal custody and your child is part of the conversation?  Or what if you have sole legal custody and your child is part of the conversation?

A case going back to 1998 addresses this issue, Williams vs. Williams, 229 Mich. App. 318.  The parent who did the taping in Williams had sole legal and sole physical custody of the minor child.  He then believed that this allowed him to tape the conversations between the mother and their child.  The court stated that he was not allowed to tape these conversations, regardless of the custody arrangement.  The eavesdropping statute does not make an exception for parents and minor children, so there is nothing saying that type of recording is allowable.  So, in short, you cannot record conversations between other people, even if one of them is your child.  

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