If you are currently getting divorced, it is paramount to know the rules for keeping records of emails and text messages and recording phone calls and conversations with your spouse.
“By keeping records of written electronic communications and recording audio conversations with your spouse before, during, and after divorce, you will always be able to prove key facts in your case and shield yourself from false allegations and lies,” says our Salt Lake City divorce attorney at The Ault Firm. “The only thing that matters is that you comply with legal restrictions and limitations in Utah – or else these evidence and recordings will be inadmissible in court.”
Is it legal to keep emails, text messages and other written communication with your spouse?
So what are the rules for recording written and oral communications with your spouse or ex-spouse? Let’s start with written communication, which typically includes emails and text messages on your phone (the old-fashioned letters are a relic of the past in 2018, so it is very unlikely that you and your spouse communicate via the traditional correspondence).
Under Utah law, you are permitted to save copies and take screenshots of your email and text message communication with your spouse. In fact, our experienced divorce attorney in Salt Lake City says that it is risky to just leave potentially valuable, compromising, or incriminating emails or text messages on your email or cell provider’s server.
It is not uncommon for emails and text messages to disappear for no reason. And more often than not, it is impossible or extremely difficult to retrieve that data by contacting your email server admin or cell provider (typically, they do not store all your electronic communications). Even if they can retrieve data for you, it will be super expensive to do so.
So make it a habit to take screenshots of your written communication with your spouse, especially if he or she writes something that could help you prove your point and prevail in your divorce case. It is advised to print copies (if you keep them on your phone creates, there is a risk that your spouse could erase them) and store them somewhere safe (for example, safe deposit box or give it to a family member or someone you can trust).
Is it legal to record phone calls and conversations with your spouse in Utah?
Many of our readers in Utah ask our lawyers at The Ault Firm: “Do I violate any laws in Utah by recording telephone calls and in-person communications with my wife or husband?”
The answer to your question is “No, it is not illegal, but there are a few rules to keep in mind when doing so,” says our Salt Lake City divorce attorney. Contrary to the popular belief in Utah, you do not need your spouse’s permission to record a phone conversation or in-person, non-electronic communication as long as you are a party to the communication (meaning: it is fine to record phone calls and conversations unless you are secretly recording your spouse talking to somebody else).
Even if your spouse does not reasonably expect you to record the conversation between him/her and you, you are still permitted to record the conversation and use it as admissible evidence in court. But steer clear of hiding your recording device under the bed or in your spouse’s office to record him or her having conversations with other parties.
Keeping records and recording conversations is a crucial part of divorce in Utah. After all, only these recordings and records will help you prove what was and was not said by your spouse to avoid becoming a victim of false claims, lies, misinterpretations and misunderstandings.