Property Settlements

Proposed surveillance legislation to impact family law

Family law specialist Jane Miller says proposed surveillance laws would make it even more difficult for separating couples to use audio and visual recordings against each other during disputes.

Ms Miller, a Partner at South Australia’s largest family law firm Tindall Gask Bentley, said many clients are already unable to use recordings as evidence in their family law matter.

“We often have clients come to us with recordings of conversations, arguments and incidents involving their former spouse and children,” Ms Miller said.

“The rise of smartphones and other technology developments has certainly given people greater power in this area.

“However, current family laws already contain strict rules regarding the use of recordings as evidence so in many cases we are already unable to use the data, and the state government’s Surveillance Devices Bill may make obtaining and using recordings even more difficult.”

Irrespective of any law amendments, Ms Miller will continue to advise clients to gain the permission of their former spouse before hitting record.

“This is a much safer option with more potential benefits,” she said.

“Many people want to record a dispute because they’re a victim of violence, and letting their former partner know they are being recorded will often work as a deterrent.

“Using recordings as evidence is also easier if the person is aware of it.”

Voicemails, texts and emails will continue to be used as evidence because the person is knowingly producing and submitting a message.

Contact Jane on (08) 8212 1077.