How Does a Subpoena Work in Family Law Cases Like Divorce?

When a divorce proceeding gets its way to the court, surely, things can be complicated. Cooperative ex-spouses will move quickly with their separation. Take note that having a stubborn spouse will only make everything delayed. This is where the court plays an important role through orders and subpoenas.

What is a Subpoena

A subpoena is a writ or a legal document ordering a certain person to appear in court or provide specific documents.

Receiving a subpoena to appear requires you to give a testimony. It can be ordered by a government agency or someone who has been authorized by the court. A subpoena carries with it a legal liability and, hence, anyone who receives it must coordinate with the law to avoid punishment.

When Does a Subpoena Be Necessary in Divorce Cases?

Family law cases such as divorce often involve personal and intimate matters. It is understandable why a person may be uncomfortable in sharing such information and may lead to his or her non-cooperation. This is where subpoenas become necessary. A subpoena enables the procurement of essential documents or statements related to a case.

A subpoena can mandate a person to either appear, present documents, or may make statements showing supporting documents.

Subpoenas do not automatically mean that only the plaintiff can use it to his or her advantage. The defendant’s party can also utilize subpoenas in their proceedings. A subpoena’s significance is to help settle disputes between the parties and to hear out each of the plaintiff’s and defendant’s sides. It can help balance the decision of the judge in the divorce case.

Legal Liability of a Subpoena

The origin of the word subpoena came from two Latin words “sub” and “poena” which means “under penalty” when being used together. From its literal definition, any person receiving a subpoena must follow since the said document is being issued with a corresponding penalty to whoever disobeys the writ’s order. Ignoring a subpoena does not only constitute fines but may also include criminal charges. One must take seriously any order that a court may issue.

Legal matters which may appear vague on your part must be consulted with your lawyer. Your actions have their own consequences that can make or break you. Be mindful of the law and adhere to its provisions.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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