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May I Record Telephone Conversations in Minnesota?

Under Minnesota law, as long as you yourself are a party to the conversation, it is lawful for you to record that conversation, even secretly. Furthermore, it happens often enough in family practice that you are wise to assume that any telephone conversation with your spouse is in fact being recorded, and to temper your speech accordingly - i.e., no anger, name-calling, or spiteful speech of any kind.

Such recordings of your spouse may be used in evidence, provided they’re relevant. However, they shouldn’t be used unless they are very compelling and necessary evidence of the point you’re trying to prove, because otherwise their usefulness is outweighed by the tendency of such recordings to make you look obsessive.

If you fear your spouse may make false claims of abuse against you, in order to get you quickly ordered out of the house, or to gain an advantage in a custody dispute, there are a couple of things you can do to help protect yourself:

  • Never let your spouse suck you into a fight - even a verbal one. Once it starts getting heated, just withdraw from your spouse’s presence. While this won’t protect you against a spouse who is willing to make up a false abuse allegation out of whole cloth, it will protect you from a spouse who is trying to set you up to do something which will allow him or her to claim s/he was physically harmed or put in fear of imminent bodily harm.
  • While this is not always feasible, it is ideal to always have a friendly witness present whenever you are in the presence of your spouse or significant other.
  • Although it probably wouldn’t be feasible to do around the clock, if you are afraid of a false abuse allegation arising out of a particular encounter, you can protect yourself by videotaping the encounter.

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ADVICE FOR YOUR PARTICULAR CASE. ALSO, THIS INFORMATION APPLIES ONLY TO MINNESOTA LAW, AND NOT TO THE LAW OF ANY OTHER STATE OR COUNTRY.


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