Dear Carolyn,

I believe my wife is having an affair with the landscaper. She doesn’t work and is home all day. I suspect she is bringing this man into our home while I am at work and when this landscaper is supposed to work on our yard. I want to put some cameras up in my home where I live. My name is on the deed. Can I legally install video cameras to see what is going on?


Carolyn Answers,

Yes, putting up a video camera with absolutely zero surveillance sound in your home while you live there is legal. If you were separated and living elsewhere, the answer would be no, and you would move into illegal video voyeurism. Note that I said the cameras could not have audio because the laws on audio recording are vastly different. You cannot audio record conversations if you are not a party to the conversation; that violates federal wiretap laws. You can audio record conversations if you are in the room and part of the scene.

Home videos without sound are lawful and can be introduced into evidence with a proper foundation. Audio recordings can be submitted as evidence if you are a party to the conversation in North Carolina. Other states have different rules on all this recording of monkey business.


Send your questions on family law and divorce matters to “Ask Carolyn…” at, or P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro, NC  27427. Please do not put identifying information in your questions. Note that the answers in “Ask Carolyn” are intended to provide general legal information, and the answers are not specific legal advice for your situation. The column also uses hypothetical questions. A subtle fact in your unique case may determine the legal advice you need in your individual case. Also, please note that you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with Carolyn J. Woodruff by writing or having your question answered by “Ask Carolyn…”  “Ask Carolyn…” will be a regular column, but not necessarily weekly.