News

Hazel Wright comments on divorce and covert recordings in Netmums

  • November 10, 2017
  • By Hunters Law

Divorcing parents are hiding bugs on their children

Going through a divorce is never easy, especially when you have kids to think about. But a leading judge has now raised concerns about a new trend for parents secretly recording each other, as part of battles about their children.

According to senior family court judge Sir James Munby, increasing number of parents involved in family disputes are resorting to secretly recording conversations and handovers with each other – and with their kids.

Yet while the evidence can be used in court, it could seriously harm your chances of winning a custody battle, according to Hazel Wright, partner and accredited mediator at Hunters Solicitors.

She told Netmums, ‘The issue of covert recordings has come to the fore following a recent judgement in the Court of Appeal.

‘It could absolutely affect your case if you spring a covert recording in court at the last minute – it could really backfire.

‘A judge wants to see that parents can work together for the good of the child. So, if you’ve got a parent running around recording the children and behaving in an underhand way, that’s not a good thing.’

How are parents secretly recording each other?

According to Hazel, parents either get their kids to record conversations on their smartphones, or they buy small recording devices and hide them on their child’s clothes.

Hazel says, ‘It’s very easy with smartphones. A parent might say to their child, “why don’t you just press record when you’re playing – but don’t share with Mummy /Daddy because they might get cross”.

‘Sometimes children don’t know they are recording at all. A parent might hide a recording device in a button or something. It’s very easy now as recording devices can be very small.

‘I’ve heard cases of parents buying small bugs to actually put on children’s clothes.’

Why rely on covert recordings?

There are a number of reasons divorcing parents are turning to covert recordings, according to Hazel. ‘You only know what your child tells you and some children are very torn about what they tell a parent when they come back from seeing the other parent.

‘Sometimes they don’t want to share or they feel disloyal.

‘So, a parent might be suspicious that something bad – or even something good – has gone on. It’s sometimes a parent’s wish to know a bit more about what is going on in the other parent’s life.’

Covert recordings – can they be used in court?

‘In other words, is it just the parents being rude about each other and wanting to score points or is it relevant for the welfare of the child’, says Hazel.

‘And is it really reliable? When you look at a film of something do you actually know what you are looking at? Or has it been played around with in some way? If you put a recorder inside a child’s coat, how much can you really hear?’

But be warned. Hazel adds, ‘ In the end, it’s likely the child would turn against the parent who asks them to do a secret recording.’

Read the full article in Netmums here

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