Parents warned about mobile phone videos in custody cases

By Lenore Rice

Divorce solicitors are seeing an increase in the number of parents producing videos of their children taken on mobile devices and tablets to support their case for custody in divorce cases.

While videos showing abusive or disruptive behaviour can be useful evidence for the courts, solicitors are warning divorcing parents of the potential negative impact on their case for custody if they start interrogating their children while videoing them on their mobile phone. Some recordings that have been submitted have involved the parents sitting their children down and openly asking them questions, while others have obtained footage using more covert methods.

One father went so far as to sewing bugs into his daughter's school blazer to try and listen to her meetings with her social worker. The child's mother described the father's actions as "unbelievable and really disturbing, and the court went on to grant her custody. Mr Justice Peter Jackson said, "It is almost always likely to be wrong for a recording device to be placed on a child for the purpose of gathering evidence in family proceedings, whether or not the child is aware of its presence."

Parents should consider very carefully before attempting to collect video evidence which they feel would support their case for custody during their divorce. The courts have proved reluctant to accept such evidence, and in some cases the recordings can actually be detrimental, with the judgement of the parent trying to get the information out of the child coming into question.

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.