The Truth - the Winning Argument for Your Case

30 Jul. 2012

Discovery: The Subpoena

Posted By The Buncher Law Corporation

Information is vital to any court action. As I mentioned last week, discovery is the way your lawyer will gather information that you may need for your case. We have several possible actions that we may use to get at the needed information: we can present an amicable release of information from certain sources (banks, employers, et cetera) or we can force the information out into the open with a formal legal demand that information must be presented to us within a specific period.

Subpoenas are an official order from the court that compels a witness to appear before the court on a particular date and time to present information they may have. Subpoenas are often delivered (served) by a sheriff, U.S. marshal or process server well in advance of the date of appearance. The only way to get out of a subpoena is by presenting a valid legal excuse – such as a catastrophic illness or other encumbrance. In many cases where a valid excuse is present, a judge will only delay the subpoena for a later date.

Failure to comply with a subpoena is a serious problem, punishable by law and often results in a charge of contempt of court and fines. In contentious cases, subpoenas are used when one party is non-cooperative (e.g., failure to sign a release). The costs associated with preparing and serving subpoenas can be reasonable unless the third party or entity charges significant fees for the production of information requested. For instance, a bank can charge a fee for every page produced plus a flat fee to cover research. Subpoenas may be issued during the initial stages of a contentious dissolution or legal separation because a significant amount of time may be required for a third party or entity to produce the information or witness requested.

Categories: Divorce
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