Family Law

Family Law News 2018, Issue 3, Volume 40, No. 3

What is the Deal With Secret Recordings?

Kelly Robbins

Kelly Robbins has practiced family law, exclusively, for 22 years. She became certified by the State Bar, as a specialist, in 2005 and opened her own practice Robbins Family Law, that same year. Kelly works with Jaclyn Flynn, her associate attorney. In her spare time, Kelly served for nine years on the board of California Women Lawyers, a statewide women’s bar association and as its president in 2015-2016. In 2017 Kelly became a member of FLEXCOMM, the Family Law Executive Committee of our Section of the California Lawyers Association. Kelly has served as Judge Pro Tem for the Superior Court in San Francisco, and regularly volunteers as a Settlement Master for the Family Law Court’s Mandatory Settlement Conferences.

Ihave some information about my wife…" a client might say during a meeting to advance his custody matter, ".she’s on a website advertising as an escort. I don’t want my daughter exposed to this type of behavior!" He goes on to say the words she used to describe her style, include "frisky" and that her ad said her clients had to be "discreet" due to her "high-profile job." Despite the fact that this could cause an attorney’s head to be spinning with: a) the illogic of how a young daughter would be exposed; and b) how brazen it was that the high-profile wife put up the ad, the attorney should focus enough to ask how the client knew all of this. He might respond, "I put a program on her laptop, so that I could read her emails and know when she changed her passwords."

Oh, SPYWARE! Somberly and forthright comes the advice: "You have to remove that program and whether you remove it or not, you must not access any information from it." Attorneys are wise to be aware of issues related to secret recordings, how they come up in family law, and what the exact prohibitions really are. For this article I have compiled research and provided an overview, excepting issues related to police or government surveillance.

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