What is a Subpoena and When is it Used in Divorce Proceedings?
Encinitas, CA – When getting divorced, issues of spousal and child support often arise, as do disputes over dividing assets and debts. If one party is concerned that the other may be concealing vital information, California allows for the issuance of a subpoena.
What Is a Subpoena?
“A subpoena is a mandatory request for a person to produce evidence and/or appear in court,” explains John Griffith of San-Diego based family law firm Griffith, Young, and Lass. “It’s a court-issued document that must be fulfilled; otherwise, without a motion to quash, a penalty will be incurred.”
“Subpoenas are incredibly useful in some cases,” Griffith continues. “They must be accurate and can be certified, allowing one to circumvent California’s hearsay rule. This means the documents can be admitted in court. You can even get your own attorney fees reimbursed using a subpoena.”
Several Types of Subpoenas in Divorce Cases
In California, there are a few types of subpoenas available for use in divorce hearings. The three most common are:
- Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing, California form SUBP-001. This document compels a witness to appear at a hearing or trial, often with the hopes of using this third party to put pressure on the spouse. This makes it more feasible to settle the matter before the third party witness testimony comes to pass.
- Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents, Electronically Stored Information, and Things at Trial or Hearing and Declaration, California form SUBP-002. This form instructs the witness not only to appear in court but also to bring certain items or documents to the trial or hearing.
- Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records, California form SUBP-0010. With this document, any business records may be requested. Common examples include medical records, employment history, police reports, bank statements, and so forth. When one spouse is likely under-reporting income or over-reporting liabilities, this type of subpoena is particularly useful.
What Can Subpoenas Uncover?
With a subpoena, many hidden assets and other information may come out of the woodwork. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Jewelry and/or real property appraisals.
- Job applications and work history.
- Personal documents like calendars, diaries, and appointment books.
- Police reports or photographs pertaining to domestic violence allegations.
- Previously undisclosed bank, insurance, or retirement accounts or investments.
- Proof of expenses related to medical costs or childcare.
- “Under-the-table” pay to prove that the other party has sufficient money to pay child and/or spousal support.
- Various receipts, bookkeeping documents, and other such records.
Seeking Professional Counsel
“When it comes to divorces with a complex financial component, it’s best to consult with an experienced law professional,” remarks Griffith. “Each case varies greatly; therefore, you want to make sure that you’re getting the appropriate information to efficiently finalize your divorce.”
To best ensure that subpoenas are filled out properly and certified correctly, schedule a free consultation with John Griffith and his associates today!
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