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Father could go to jail for recording child custody proceeding

Every time you step into a family court hearing, it's vital that you understand the rules and laws that apply to those proceedings. A recent Pennsylvania case shows just how true this fact is. According to a Pennsylvania court, a father should go to jail because he recorded his child custody proceedings.

Signs around the courthouse warned him that smartphone use was not permitted during his court proceedings, when he and his ex-wife had a child custody conference. Nevertheless, the man still used his cellphone without permission and without notifying anyone who was present. He recorded the child custody proceedings, which he later published on Facebook without anyone else granting him permission.

A state Superior Court last week ruled that the man should now spend between 11.5 and 23 months in state prison for the crime of illegal wiretapping. In his defense, the father tried to tell the court that he didn't know about the wiretap law, and he didn't realize he had done anything wrong.

Prosecutors disagreed. They claimed that the 43-year-old man was in violation of the law because he hid his cellphone under some documents and recorded the private conference, then pushed record on his device. A custody conciliator saw that the phone was set to record and notified the man that the recording was illegal. Then, a deputy sheriff appeared and tried to confiscate the phone. The man took the phone and ran out of the courthouse and posted the recording on Facebook.

In his defense, the father claimed that he was merely trying to expose what he perceived to be a corrupt child custody proceeding. Nevertheless, his excuse was not sufficient to prevent his being convicted of a serious crime.

It's vital that everyone entering into court proceedings for any kind of family law matter fully understands what they can and cannot do. An understanding of the law in this regard could prevent serious legal problems like the father in this case is currently facing.

Source: PennLive.com, "Dad deserves jail term for recording child custody hearing, Pa. court says," Matt Miller, Jan. 04, 2018

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