Is it legal for my wife to record a private face -to-face conversation without my knowing it?

There was a restraining order that lasted for 1 year but it had been dropped for probably 3 months at the time of her recording me.

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As the previous answer notes, the restraining order doesn't really come into play since it was dropped at the time.  You need permission to record conversations in CA, but there is no bright line rule as to what is a reasonable expectation of privacy. 

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy at all between spouses no matter where you are.  It sounds like you should cut off contact with her because she aims to manipulate you.  I would cease talking with her and retain a family law attorney to protect yourself.

If you are in Ventura County, feel free to contact me.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Well, California requires both parties to consent to recordation if you are in a location that you expect to be private -- so think your home or somewhere you objectively have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  However, if you are outside or in a public location, that statutory limitation goes out the window and now your wife has the ability to record your conversations and have these recordations (audio or vide) be used against you to either reinstate the restraining order or other violations.

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