One question that is regularly asked is whether a parent should record any aspect of their contact with their children – particularly at handovers where the other parent may be present, or during video calls with their children.
Mostly, this comes from the genuine concern of a parent who wishes to protect themselves against any false allegations that the other parent may make (e.g. in respect of their conduct during handovers). Occasionally, a parent may also wish to record their child to provide proof of the good nature of their relationship, or to undermine claims made by the other parent, or to substantiate their claims as to the other parent’s conduct.
These all seem like fair enough reasons to want to protect yourself. But should you record?
Well technically, in certain circumstances, it may not necessarily be unlawful. But any benefit of recording is likely outweighed by the significant risks of doing so.
- Firstly, if a child is aware that they are being recorded, or come to be aware, this may confuse or upset them. The effects of them being recorded could be harmful to their welfare, particularly taking into account their age and understanding of the circumstances.
- Secondly, any recording has a risk of leading to inappropriate or inorganic circumstances, such as staged questioning for the purposes of the recording. This is unlikely to be in the best interests of the child.
- Thirdly, it is unlikely that any recording will foster and encourage an amicable and collaborative relationship between the parents going forwards.
- Fourthly, if the matter is in legal proceedings, then there are significant hurdles to overcome for the recording to be admissible as evidence in any event. That’s even if you are before a Judge who is comfortable with its admission in the first place, as understandably both overt and covert recordings carry with them uncomfortable connotations. You may be at significant risk of damaging your case, and of criticism from the Court.
It should also be noted that if your contact is taking place in a contact centre or other professional building, they may have their own rules which you must adhere to.
Should you be having any difficulties in arranging contact or feel that you are at risk of unfounded allegations being made against you in respect of your child, Langleys can help you to manage and mitigate these issues in an appropriate way.