Allendale, MI asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Michigan

Q: Is it legal to put hidden cameras in my home to collect evidence that my child's dad is abusing him without him knowing?

I am planning to leave my boyfriend (father of my 2 young children) but I intend to win majority custody. I know for a fact he is not a fit parent to have majority. I am the only one who takes care of the children's needs and he is physically abusive to them. I need to collect proof of this somehow. But wondered if it's legal to install hidden cameras without his awareness/consent in the state of Michigan. We rent a duplex. His name is on the lease technically- but I've lived here for exactly 7 years and pay half the rent. Thanks.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Can you? Probably. Should you? Probably not. I understand what your intent is, but a lawyer's job is sometimes to make you aware of the unintended affects you may be unaware of.

Consider this: You leave him and file for custody alleging that he abused your child and you have video evidence (assuming you actually catch some action that is abusive, and not just something you don't agree with). I think a judge may wonder why you subjected your child to knowing abuse that you didn't report to CPS or the police just for the sake of custody? And that's if everything works as you intend. Worse case, CPS becomes involved by someone other than you, and after reviewing the videos you capture, determine that you failed to protect your child from this abuse.

Bottom line: if there is abuse going on, you need to be proactive in removing yourself and the child from this situation, not plotting how to gain custody.

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