Lis and the Single Girl: Before You Spy on Your Boyfriend Know the Law

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Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

* Scroll to the bottom for disclaimer information

I think my boyfriend is cheating on me. Can I record his phone conversations or put video recorders in our home?

Federal law prohibits electronic voice recording without the consent of at least one person who is part of the conversation. So, you can’t record a conversation between your boyfriend and the woman you suspect he’s having an affair with unless you get consent from one of them — not likely to happen! Most states have adopted the same rule.

Twelve states require the consent of both parties to record phone conversations: Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. Now you’re never going to get consent of both parties!

Video cameras are also tricky. Approximately 24 states make it illegal to video record in private places — I guess those celebrity sex tapes are being made outside of those 24 states! Or could it be that we don’t care if the person making the recording is violating the law, we just want to see the tape.

And the audio part of video recording tape is usually treated as a voice recording — meaning you need consent to record audio as well.

What about all those parents video taping babysitters and nannies — we hear about that all the time. Some courts have said that those recordings are OK because a nanny or babysitter doesn’t have an expectation of privacy while working in your home. But what about your cheating live-in boyfriend? Does he have an expectation of privacy in your shared home? The courts have steered clear of this thorny question and for good reason.

What if your boyfriend finds out you’ve been tape recording him? That won’t do much for your relationship. Bottom line — if you’ve gotten to the point in your relationship where you are thinking of recording your boyfriend, maybe it’s time to cool off on that idea and have a heart to heart chat.

• Have a question for Lis? E-mail her and check back tomorrow for another edition of "Lis and the Single Girl."

• CLICK HERE for yesterday's entry!


• General information on tape recording

• Twelve states require all consent

• Right to Privacy

* Disclaimer

The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.

• E-mail Lis With Your Legal Questions!

Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.