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How are Subpoenas Used in Divorce Matters?


When a person has information that is relevant to a family law matter, courts often issue subpoenas, which are legal documents that order the recipient to attend legal proceedings and testify before the court. Subpoenas can also be used to require a person to submit documents or provide facts or opinions about a specific matter. Those who fail to comply with a subpoena’s orders could face serious penalties, including contempt of court charges. For more information on how subpoenas are used in divorces or other family law matters, please contact a member of our dedicated divorce legal team today.

When are Subpoenas Issued? 

When couples decide to divorce, they must grapple with a host of legal issues before their marriages can actually be dissolved. For instance, couples with children must come up with a parenting plan that details how parenting time and decision making responsibilities will be divided between them. Similarly, decisions will have to be made regarding child support and alimony, all of which require extensive information about family relationships, finances, and employment. In many cases, the only way to obtain this information is to formally request it from the other party or another person or entity. In these cases, courts often issue subpoenas, which are legal documents that direct the recipients to either attend legal proceedings and offer testimony or to produce certain evidence. The latter could include everything from electronically stored information to tangible objects, as long as it can help resolve divorce-related legal matters.

In fact, even minors can be subpoenaed for their testimony regarding a family law issue, although they do have the right to be accompanied by a parent or guardian when the testimony is being recorded. The only time that this is not true is when:

  • A parent’s presence would materially and negatively impact the credibility of the minor’s testimony;
  • A parent’s presence would materially impact the accuracy of the minor’s testimony; and
  • The interests of the parent are in actual or potential conflict with the child’s interests.

Failing to Comply with a Subpoena  

Subpoenas are usually requested by an attorney and issued by a court clerk, after which they are personally served, or delivered, emailed, sent via certified mail, or read aloud to the recipient. Once a subpoena is received, the recipient must comply with the directions contained in the document or risk facing contempt of court charges for hindering the judicial process. In addition to paying a fine, a person held in contempt of court could even be required to spend time in jail.

Call Today for Help with Your Case  

If you are in the midst of divorce and your spouse or another party is refusing to provide certain information, you could obtain what you seek by filing a subpoena. To learn more about this process, please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today or send us an online message and we’ll help you set up an initial consultation at your earliest convenience.



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