The Use of Subpoena in Divorce Proceedings

February 28, 2019 The Law Offices of Teresa A. Beyers Divorce

Divorces can be financially and emotionally trying. An already stressful process for you and your children and property can be made more difficult if your spouse is uncooperative with the process. 

A divorce begins when you or your spouse files and serves the petition for divorce. You can either agree to or dispute the claims and terms of the divorce. If you do the latter, you’ll need a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, to fight for your interests in a trial before a judge.

One of the chief ways that your attorney can fight for you is to help you get relevant information, like medical records and tax records, that help a judge come to a fair ruling. This is where a subpoena comes in. Here’s some relevant information that divorce attorneys want you to know about subpoenas and how they assist with divorce proceedings.

About Divorce Proceedings

You and your spouse may attend mediation, the process of settling your case and coming to agreements outside of court. Each of you can bring a divorce lawyer to help defend your interests.

During a divorce, each spouse is responsible for supporting their claims to finances, property, and children. 

To this end, you and your spouse will need to disclose information related to your finances, including monthly income and expenses information. You’ll need to document your average expenses for food, living, loan payments, insurance, personal care, and more. A combination of bank records, mortgage statements, receipts, and bills is used as proof of these expenses. Through what is known as the discovery process, each spouse should provide all relevant documents.


The discovery process is the legal term for the phase of locating documentation, finding facts relevant to your case, and documenting your claims to act as evidence during your divorce. You can request additional information from your spouse if you feel that this is relevant to you and your divorce lawyer representing your claims in a divorce. You can serve your spouse a request for employment records, pay stubs, and more. Conversely, they can do the same to you. 

This is where a subpoena may come in. In the process of gathering evidence, you may feel that certain records or documentation are being withheld from you. You may also feel that information from third parties, like your child’s school or a doctor’s office, may be relevant to your case. A subpoena is a court order to produce said documentation or materials, or for a certain individual to appear in person at a divorce trial to give relevant testimony. A neighbor who has witnessed one spouse abuse a child or has an extramarital affair may be subpoenaed. You can request a subpoena for documents like your spouse’s tax returns if you feel that they’re lying about how much money they make annually.

There are different types of subpoenas, one of which should be relevant to your specific needs during discovery. 

Who Issues a Subpoena?

In some states, including California, an attorney at a divorce law firm can issue your subpoena, but a court clerk or judge may also do so. 

Once a subpoena is signed and authorized, it will be served to the appropriate person or entity from whom you wish to gather documentation or testimony. Once received, they will have a specifically designated time limit in which to respond. They must legally respond, with consequences ranging from hefty fines to jail time, unless they have a legal objection. If they do, they still must respond by filing for an objection. Even then, though, a judge may still side with you and determine that the information is necessary for a divorce trial. Then, the judge will compel a response with the requested information. 

You may have more questions for a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, including questions about the types of subpoenas, how to respond, what to do when you’ve been subpoenaed, and more. For these and other questions, contact The Law Offices of Teresa A. Beyers, your resource for family law.

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