Skip to content

Child Custody | Family

Can You Subpoena Someone In A Child Custody Case?

5 min read
Philip Ahn, Attorney

by Philip Ahn, Attorney

Yes, it is possible to subpoena someone in a child custodial case, including parents, to testify or produce documents. The subpoena can compel the person to appear in court or provide relevant information, such as financial or medical records. However, the issuance of a subpoena must be done per the rules and procedures of the court.


In family law cases such as divorce and child support disputes, subpoenas can be issued to obtain evidence and documents from either party or even a third party. These subpoenas can request income and asset documentation, bank records, health records, and other relevant information that may help the court make informed decisions regarding the family’s future.

A subpoena is a legal document that can be used to obtain information, such as:

  • Bank records
  • Other sensitive documents
  • Or to compel a person’s appearance in court to testify in a divorce or children custodial case.

The subpoena is a legal document issued by the court and must be complied with, as failure to do so may result in legal consequences for the party or person who has been subpoenaed.

Child Custody

Child custodial disputes are common in family law proceedings, especially during divorce or child support cases. Subpoenas may be utilized for the following purposes:

  • To gather evidence
  • Obtain documents
  • Get testimony from witnesses, including the minor or other persons involved, to prove the following:
    • A party’s income
    • Assets
    • Parenting capabilities

Failure to comply with a subpoena can result in being held in contempt of court, and the information obtained through subpoenas can be crucial to the outcome of a custody trial.

Family Law Cases Relating To Child Custody

In family legal matters related to children’s custody, subpoenas can be used to request records and compel testimony from individuals, including parents and children. These subpoenas can be issued to either party or a third person. They play a vital role in providing evidence and information necessary for the court to decide the best interests of the parent or children.

One Common Purpose Of Subpoenas Is To Acquire Medical Records From One Parent Or A Minor

One common reason subpoenas are issued is to obtain medical records, especially in family cases where a minor’s or parent’s health is at issue. In addition to health records, subpoenas can be used to acquire the following:

  • Financial and business records
  • Legal documents
  • Other information relevant to the following:
    • Divorce
    • Child support
    • Spousal support
    • Domestic violence
    • Custody cases

An attorney can assist a person in obtaining such records and in providing testimony in court while also providing neutral insight into legal grounds and guidance regarding specific actions that need to be taken to prove grounds for a particular claim or avoid jail time for contempt of court.

Disregarding A Subpoena Can Result In Legal Consequences

In family cases, disregarding a subpoena can have serious legal consequences. Warrants are often used to obtain the following:

  • Financial, legal, and other sensitive information about child support
  • Spousal support
  • Or a contested divorce case

Failure to produce these records or appear in court to testify can result in the following:

  • Criminal charges
  • Fines Other legal penalties

It is important to seek the advice of a family or divorce attorney when dealing with subpoenas and obtaining information to take the appropriate legal actions and avoid potential consequences.

Which Individuals Are Typically Targeted With Subpoenas Related To Family Law Matters?

Subpoenas related to family legal matters are typically targeted towards individuals who may have relevant information or documents about a case, such as:

  • The other party in a divorce or children custodial case or
  • A witness who can testify to the educational needs of the children

These subpoenas may be used to get records of a sensitive nature, such as:

  • Business records
  • Financial records or
  • Other assets

They may require the person subpoenaed to produce documents or show up in court to provide testimony under penalty of law.

What Are The Consequences Of A Spouse Disregarding A Subpoena?

Disregarding a subpoena can have severe consequences in a legal case, including being held in contempt of court and facing potential fines or even jail time. Failing to comply with a subpoena in a divorce or children custodial case could harm one’s legal argument.

It may lead to negative consequences for the parties involved, as the judge may take specific action against the non-compliant parent or spouse.

At What Age Can A Child Provide Testimony In A Custody Case?

In most states, there is no specific age at which a child can testify in a custody case. However, the court will consider the following:

  • The child’s age
  • Maturity level
  • Ability to understand the proceedings before deciding if their testimony is admissible

Additionally, the judge may appoint a guardian ad litem, or child advocate, to represent the child’s best interests.

If you are facing a subpoena in a family law matter, it may be in your best interest to seek legal help from an unbundled family law attorney. An attorney can advise you on your legal rights and obligations and help you navigate a subpoena’s complexities.

They can also represent you at trial, helping to protect your interests in legal arguments and ensuring that the court and other parties involved hear your side of the story. With the guidance of a family law attorney, you may be able to avoid the negative consequences of being subpoenaed, including potential penalties for non-compliance or harm to your legal case.

An Unbundled attorney’s fees are affordable and can vary between $500 to $1500, which is less than the $5000 or more a regular lawyer may charge.

Unbundled legal services may not be the best fit for all cases. Still, they can be highly advantageous when you only need limited family law attorney assistance. Contact an Unbundled family law attorney to protect your legal rights.

Related Blog Posts

Ready to Talk to a Lawyer?

Receive a free consultation with a more affordable lawyer in your local area