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Can You Force People to Testify in Your Divorce?

Divorce word in a dictionary
Divorce is difficult on everybody involved. Even tertiary family members can feel some of the impact of a divorce. The situation becomes intensely complicated if a couple goes to court to settle their differences in the divorce. These trials can become quite contentious.

With tensions already high in a divorce, individuals might not be willing to testify on behalf of either party. Involving friends, family members, affair partners, and other people can be stressful for everybody. Unfortunately, these people might have valuable information you need in court. The only way to compel these people to testify might be with the help of a subpoena.

Read on to learn more about the subpoena process and how it may benefit you in divorce court.

What Is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a legal document that orders an individual to participate in a court case, either physically or with evidence they possess. If the individual fails to act within accordance with the subpoena, he or she will face punishment by law. This incentive often compels witnesses to talk, even if it means they are forced to side with one party.

You can use a subpoena as part of a divorce, child custody, alimony, or visitation case. In many cases, the subpoena allows one party to retrieve evidence that would make or break their legal case. In a family case, a subpoena can make a significant impact in whether you receive custody of your child or have to pay child support.

How Can You Use a Subpoena?

One of the biggest uses for a subpoena is to order an individual to show up in court to testify under oath. This subpoena allows the third party to clear up a dispute or offer additional insight into a contentious issue. Often, this person offers a neutral perspective. If you need a witness to support an argument you are making, you can bring in a subpoenaed party to help bolster your case.

Subpoenas are also used to call forth evidence, not necessarily witnesses. For instance, your ex-spouse's parents may have documents in their home that would help you nullify a marriage or receive a fault-based divorce. Or you might use a subpoena to ask for financial documents from a bank to demonstrate that your exspouse has been hiding cash or other assets. A subpoena can also help you retrieve mental health records that could protect you or your children.

One method in which you might use a subpoena is to ask your phone company for phone records or text messages. These messages can be used to prove your partner committed adultery. Adultery could allow for a fault-based divorce. When you pursue a divorce with a fault basis, you may be able to improve your chances of gaining alimony and assets from your marriage. The judge does not have to consider evidence of an affair in dividing property or adjusting alimony, but they can.

Is Using a Subpoena a Good Idea?

Whether or not you should use a subpoena in your divorce proceedings is up to you. You are wise to discuss your options for divorce with an attorney, who can determine if you have a solid case or not. If you intend to call forth witnesses or evidence with a subpoena, an attorney will provide the best course for serving these individuals.

Call Mary E. Papcke, Attorney at Law to discuss your divorce case and family law proceedings. We understand that tensions can run high during a divorce, especially with family members and other loved ones involved. We can help you take the best course of action. 

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