Is a Subpoena Required in a California Divorce?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsSubpoenas might sometimes be required in some California divorce cases, but for such cases, that likely means that divorce mediation is not a viable option because at least one of the parties is not being open and transparent concerning finances. During divorce proceedings, either party or both might want to find evidence to prepare for the proceedings. Most of the time, these evidences relate to the financial information of the other party. Cases of hiding assets or getting paid under the table and declaring lesser income are not so hard to find in divorce cases. There are cases of the spouse being perfectly healthy but announcing in court that they are too sick to work. It is in cases like this, the subpoena helps locate necessary information and documentation.  Here is what a subpoena is and what it can do for your case.

A California subpoena is a document that serves the receiver with a mandatory request. Which means to whomever a subpoena is served is bound by law to oblige the acts mentioned in it. There is no way anyone can deny a subpoena unless and until they have a very good and legal reason to do so.

A subpoena is generally issued by an “attorney of record” or by the clerk of the court. Subpoena is an umbrella term which includes various types of subpoenas in it. Following are the three subpoenas that are most used in California divorce cases.

Civil Subpoena that requires personal appearance at hearing

This is the subpoena that is used to make a person, otherwise not willing to appear at the trial, be present at an evidentiary trial. This is often used for witnesses unwilling to be at the hearing.

Civil Subpoena for production of documents and objects at trial

This subpoena, also known as the Duces Tecum, also requires a person to be at the trial. However, in this particular subpoena, the said individual is also required to bring certain objects or things with them at the trial. Financial records are often asked to be presented under such subpoenas.

Deposition Subpoena for presenting business records

In the cases where the other party is hiding their income or assets, this subpoena can be very helpful. It is used to acquire business records only. For example, credit card statements, bank statements, police records, hospital records etc.

Subpoenas can help you in getting accurate and complete documents which might have been hidden otherwise. These documents apart from being complete are certified as well, ensuring accuracy. In case, you can prove that the other party had refused to comply with your initial informal request for disclosure of assets or documents then you can ask the court to punish the other party with court sanctions.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation