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What To Know About Subpoenas in a California Divorce

divorce lawyers orange countyMoney and assets are key players in divorce proceedings. To get the most out of their divorce, partners are often desperate to find an evidence against each other. When you are preparing for or defending against a California family-law matter, a powerful tool called the ‘Subpoena’ can be used.

What is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a request, writ, or summons issued by a court of law or governing body which compels the recipient to appear in court or produce physical evidence in a case. It is a mandatory procedure which has to be fulfilled, the  failure of which results in a penalty.

In cases where the subpoena does not impact the case in any way or the records are bound by confidentiality rules, the recipient can object and refuse to comply with the subpoena. If you have legal representation, then the subpoena is issued by an ‘attorney of record’, else a clerk of the court will do it for you.

Using a subpoena, you are able to

  • Provide accurate documents supporting your case because the recipient of the subpoena is compelled by law to do so.
  • Get the documents certified by a member of the court. This makes the documents a valid admission in court even if your partner objects to it, providing an exception to the California hearsay rule.
  • Get your attorney fees reimbursed.

Types of subpoenas

Depending on the type of matter on hand and the client’s needs, there are 3 types of subpoenas.

  1. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Hearing or Trial

A civil subpoena is used to compel a witness to appear in court in order to provide evidence against the other party. It is often used to coerce the witness into pressuring the opposing party to cooperate.

  1. Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) meant for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents as well as Things At Trial Or Hearing and Declaration

It is similar to the civil subpoena but requires the witness to bring documents and records supporting their case to the trial or hearing.

  1. Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records

The deposition subpoena requests parties to present business records such as credit card statements, bank records, employment records, medical records etc. This can be used for parties who have declared their income as less than what they are actually making.

A subpoena is a useful procedure which may help you win your case. Ensure you engage the services of a good family-law attorney to prepare you for subpoenaing records and witnesses.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

divorce_attorneyGerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.

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