A common question is whether it is legal to tape record a phone conversation between two people or parties. Federal law and all states prohibit the recording of any telephone conversation which the recording person is not a party.
However, in Oregon, it is legal to tape record a telephone conversation as long as one party consents to the recording (see ORS §§165.535, 165.540). Typically, this means that as long as the person recording consents, which will almost always be the case, then it is not illegal to record the conversation and use that conversation as evidence in a later court proceeding. Recording oral face-to-face communications, on the other hand, requires the consent of both parties in Oregon.
Some states, such as California and Washington, require that both parties consent to the recording of a telephone call. This means that before the conversation can be recorded, the party doing the recording must let the other party know the conversation is being recorded and that party must then consent to the recording. If you will be recording between states, check the laws for each state. Remember that a suit could potentially be filed in either state and that state’s law would then apply.
Ultimately, recording sensitive phone calls can be a serious matter. Violation of all of these laws is a crime and should be taken seriously. However, if done correctly, it can potentially provide helpful evidence in a family law proceeding. If you have any questions about the specifics of these laws, contact your attorney to get clarification.