How to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

A subpoena is one of the most powerful tools a litigant or attorney has in their arsenal to develop and present important information and evidence to the court. In family law, subpoenas are vital because these are often contentious affairs. During family law cases, parties are commonly reluctant to produce the requested evidence or documents. In this common instance, you must ask the court to issue a subpoena to force the other party to comply with the request. Continue reading to learn the basic steps of having a subpoena issued for family law court.

Steps to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

In a nutshell, you must fill out the form, file it with the court, and have the person served, and submit an official notice to the court. With this powerful legal document, the individual will be held legally responsible to comply or produce the specified evidence or documents.

Fill Out the Form

The first step to issue a subpoena is to fill out the appropriate subpoena form. While each state’s requirements may vary, most of the information will be the same. You must provide your name underneath the defendant or plaintiff field. Below the name field, you should find boxes for civil and criminal. Family law matters are classified as civil issues, so you should check civil. Then fill out the address and other requested information of the person who is being subpoenaed.

The “You Are Ordered” Section

It’s important to check all of the appropriate boxes in the section titled, “You Are Ordered.” You must include the time and place if you are ordering someone to show up at a hearing. A few of the most common reasons family law courts issue subpoenas are to:

  • To produce evidence or documents
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a deposition
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a trial

In any case, make sure you check all of the options that apply to your case.

Issuing the Subpoena

Finally, fill out the rest of the information, such as your address, name, and contact phone number. Then sign and date the document. If you aren’t an attorney, you should check with your respective family law court because you may have to get permission of the court to issue the subpoena. Most states do require an attorney in order for the subpoena to be issued.

Serving the Subpoena

Since family law matters can be difficult for all parties, it’s best to serve subpoenas by certified mail. However, you can choose to use a personal service, which involves a process server delivering it directly to the person by hand. It’s important for the individual delivering the subpoena to be over the age of 18 and be someone other than you. Simply put, you cannot provide personal service delivery for yourself because it is illegal and can further intensify the already messy family law conflict. Doing it yourself can even lead to violence. In addition, doing personal service yourself will cause your proceedings to be dismissed or cause a delay.

Filing with the Court

After the subpoena has been delivered through personal hand delivery or by certified mail, you should file the form with the appropriate family law court. To do so, send a copy of the form with a short letter letting the court know that the individual has been subpoenaed.

In any case, filing a family law subpoena is confusing if you do not have previous experience. Instead of doing it alone, contact a San Francisco Bay area divorce attorney for assistance.

What is the Function of a Family Law Paralegal?

You may be looking for answers from a family attorney for advice involving divorce, separation, adoption, domestic abuse or many other family related issues. When you call, the receptionist might refer you to a family law paralegal at their law firm. You think to yourself, I thought I would have to get advice from a lawyer about this and how can a family law paralegal help me? Today, we will be looking at this question in its entirety.

The Bigger Picture of Family Law

Family law covers a lot of ground. A lot of clients typically seek out family law because of divorce, but parents don’t have to be married to one another to have custody or support issues. Family law can also cover guardianship, adoption, paternity testing, annulment, child abuse or neglect. Many family law practices specialize in divorce while others cover a broader range of issues.

Where the Paralegal Comes In

When you call the law office for the first time most of the time you will be transferred to a paralegal who will ask you specific questions regarding your case and keep you focused on what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes you may be emotionally frustrated or angry, and these emotions may come up during the call for your particular case. The paralegal will go over these questions with you and pass it on the lawyer. This information is vital, as the lawyer will go over a transcript of key facts covered by your initial interview with the paralegal. As a nurse is an assistant to a doctor, so a paralegal is an assistant to a lawyer, but the paralegal cannot give a client any legal advice.

Smart Filing

Lawyers are typically involved in several cases at the same time, so they need to be extremely organized. Law firms have been using cloud technology to have their client’s information sent to their smart devices, so it’s readily available anywhere and anytime. The paralegal keeps clients files with all their information up to date that can be easily available in both hard-copy and virtually in the cloud. The paralegal also has to keep up with the drafts and documents lawyers need when they go to court.

Investigation & Discovery

They say the devil is in the details and as a paralegal you will have to get every detail possible when helping a client. You will have to have your investigation skills fined tuned as you will be digging up financial details about your client. Sometimes during your research you will find gaps, and in these cases you will have to use discovery methods. Discovery uses subpoenas, electronic discovery using digital forensics, depositions, interrogatories, or request for admissions. You might even have to hire a private investigator to track down details as well.

Maintaining Court Contact

As a paralegal, you have to have constant contact with the court for the attorneys who employee you. You will be notified if anything changes from the court and will have to keep the lawyers informed on those details. An example would be, a judge orders a marital counseling for the client and or a mediation over the children. This is important information that needs to be updated.


Today, we’ve seen that a family law paralegal is often a client’s point of contact who serves that client directly and indirectly by accomplishing particular tasks for a lawyer. Whether you are contacting a family law firm for a divorce or another situation, we encourage you to receive the help you need today to resolve your dilemma.

Can a Psychiatric Diagnosis Hurt You in a Divorce?

One in four adults will experience mental health issues at some point during their lives.  Coupled with the statistic that between 40 and 50% of marriages will end in divorce, you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that the overlap between those two sets of figures is substantial, and that mental health issues are likely to have figured highly in many of those decisions to separate.

However, mental health problems aren’t just a factor in deciding to split, they can also heavily influence how your divorce proceeds, the outcome with regard to the final settlement, and even how family relationships are affected.  Your or your spouse’s decision to disclose a mental health issue diagnosis during divorce proceedings is entirely your or their own, but it’s worth bearing in mind the following, if only to get some clarity on what is already a very stressful situation for the whole family.

  • Undiagnosed conditions can have a significant bearing on events leading to a split in the first place – illnesses such as personality disorders can be very difficult to pin down, as the sufferer can be quite adept at turning the problems round on their partner, and no diagnosis means no treatment.  Divorcing under these circumstances can be extremely fraught, as it is unlikely that a reasonable result can be found without a great deal of distress on both sides.
  • Any diagnosis of depression or other mental health issues will already be bewildering for your children to comprehend, and they may resent the parent that won’t interact with them, or is otherwise emotionally absent.  If you can, putting the needs of your children first and parting as amicably as possible will help to lessen any blame they may place upon their parent over their illness.  Many states accept diagnosis with a mental illness as perfect grounds for a no-fault divorce, which can reduce heartache and bad feeling for all parties.
  • In terms of the settlement awarded, a psychiatric diagnosis could actually work in the favor of the mentally ill partner.  For example, a judge may rule that they are in need of financial support from their former spouse, especially if they have custody of any children and are otherwise capable of providing loving and appropriate care.

If the marriage breakdown is less amicable, and the mental health issues that have caused it have led to erratic and even violent behavior, it is important to keep an accurate and truthful record of events, and to have independent witnesses for any negotiations over property, custody, and finances.  If you fear for your physical well-being, or fear that the partner that is ill may harm others or themselves, it is extremely important to know where you can access immediate and appropriate assistance.  This may be either from the police or from mental health services, or if the illness is symptomatic or resulting from alcohol or substance abuse, an appropriate case worker or counselor.

There is no clear answer as to whether a psychiatric diagnosis will hurt or help you during divorce proceedings, but this one thing is certain; if you have children, any new openness and honesty you achieve as a result of full disclosure will enable you to continue to co-parent in a respectful and understanding manner.

What is a Prenup?

A prenup, or prenuptial agreement, is a legal document created before entering into a marriage. A prenup can include many provisions, but usually it provides for the division of property and spousal support in the event of the legal dissolution of a marriage. In some states, prenups also include provisions for the forfeiture of assets if the marriage ends in divorce because of adultery, and conditions of guardianship in the event of divorce. Prenups affect alimony payments, property rights, and other assets after a marriage ends. Prenups are also made in the event of death of one partner in a marriage.

Properly Drafted and Executed Prenups

In the US, some prenuptial agreements can be circumvented if it is found that they are not properly drafted and executed. In the state of California, a properly drafted and executed prenup is very powerful. There are five factors that constitute a valid prenup in most jurisdictions in the US:

  1. Must be in writing. Some couples make oral prenups, but they are mostly unenforceable in a court of law. Any marriage lawyer will strongly urge both parties to draft a prenuptial agreement in writing, signed by both parties.
  2. Must be entered into and executed voluntarily. Couples should take steps to prove that the agreement was voluntary. Some couples retain a private judge present during the signing to ensure that neither party has been coerced, and, to show proof of this.
  3. Full and/or fair disclosure when the agreement is officially entered into.
  4. Cannot be deemed unconscionable. This provision typically involves the guardianship of children, who are very often negatively affected by divorce.
  5. Must be officially executed by both parties, as opposed to their attorneys. Both parties must agree to a legal acknowledgement before a notary public for the prenup to be valid.

Prenups in California

Prenuptial law in California varies slightly from other states because it does not recognize penalties for adultery or using recreational drugs that are common in many prenups in other states. Californian courts will also refuse to enforce requirements that children be raised in a certain religion and other requirements written into a prenuptial contract. Couples can waive their rights to share communal property in California, and prenups can limit spousal support to one party or another unless a court rules that support limitations are unconscionable.

Why You Need a Lawyer

There can be many legal pitfalls surrounding prenups, especially in California, where these agreements are considered very powerful. Any contract that you sign, prenup or otherwise, should be read first by a lawyer who can watch for any improprieties and ensure that the contract is legal and benefits you. In California, there are special requirements for those signing prenups without legal representation. You cannot limit spousal support without a lawyer present at the signing, for example. If you wish to call for the payment of a lump sum at the time of divorce, Californian courts may deem the agreement null and void. Lump sum payments at the outset of divorce have come under attack recently in Californian courts because it has been ruled that it promotes divorce. There are many small nuances to prenups that most lay people miss.

Divorce Attorneys

Divorce attorneys help negotiate the terms of a divorce in accordance with the prenuptial agreement. Make sure that you get the best legal counsel when negotiating such a personal and sensitive legal issue. Both parties are encouraged to have legal help when navigating the legal terms of a divorce settlement. Figuring out where the prenup fits into those negotiations is the key to an amicable settlement for both parties.

How is Spousal Support Determined in California?

During the divorce process you might encounter a petition for spousal support. Spousal support, sometimes called alimony, is not an uncommon request and may be granted, along with child support (or in the absence of child support) for a number of reasons. The court decides what the appropriate spousal support is for each particular case, by taking into consideration the specifics of the case, the marriage, the length of the marriage as well as other circumstances.

Spousal Support in California

Spousal support, often a hot button issue, is decided in California by considering many different aspects of the marriage, and the life that will be led by both parties after the marriage is dissolved. The length of the marriage often comes into play when a court is ruling on spousal support. The length of the marriage greatly impacts whether or not spousal support will be granted, often times.

A judge will also consider whether or not the person who is asking for spousal support can support themselves with marketable skills. For example, if a 20 year marriage dissolves in which the wife has never worked, she is unlikely to have marketable skills, and, thus will require support until marketable skills or necessary education is achieved.

A court will also take into account whether or not the party asking for spousal support has had their income potential impaired by their time spent outside the workforce because of the marriage. The court will decide whether or not the supported party was removed from the workforce to devote time to their marriage and domestic work, as well.

The supporting party’s needs are also taken into account when dealing with spousal support in court. For example, a judge will consider the lifestyle that both parties have become accustom to in the marriage, and he or she will also look at the monetary obligations of both parties. The supporting party must be able to sustain their own lifestyle appropriately while paying spousal support, and the court will not impose a financial hardship on one party in the interest of the other.

How Does Child Support Impact Spousal Support

Spousal support can be granted regardless of whether or not children were conceived during the marriage, however, many courts rule more favorably for spousal support if there are children involved, specifically, if the supported individual gave up their employment in the interest of caring for children. In many cases, the court agrees that the supported party should not take time away from the raising of children, as they had done during the marriage, for gainful employment and will rule in favor of spousal support to keep the children in a lifestyle they are both familiar and comfortable with. With that being said, however, spousal support can have an end date, and in cases were raising children is a deciding factor, the spousal support may end when the children involved in the case reach an age in which they can reasonably care for themselves.

The Length of Spousal Support

Many people think of spousal support as a never ending agreement. That simply is not the case. In the state of California, most spousal support decrees are for no longer than half the length of the marriage. This is considered enough time for the supported party to gain the skills they need to support their own lifestyle and interests. The length of the marriage, the age and the health of the parties, and other previsions may alter that time frame, however.

What is Pre-Divorce Legal Counseling?

Maintaining a healthy, vibrant marriage can be difficult. Even under the best of circumstances, marriage is a stressful and complex world. Some of these stresses and complexities can cause your marriage to become strained, forcing you to consider divorce as your only option. But, there is a way to protect yourself when going down that costly and often emotionally devastating route.

If you feel that your marriage is beyond repair and divorce is the only option, pre-divorce counseling can help to minimize the often negative impacts associated with these proceedings. Marriages can fail for many reasons, whether you think it’s your partner’s fault or not, your irreconcilable differences could end up requiring pre-divorce counseling before all is said and done.


Although many states do not require counseling by law, you may still want to inform yourself of these services once your relationship gets to this point. Counseling could help you with attempts for the reconciliation of your marriage, or if that’s not an option, it will provide you with resources you can rely on when your divorce goes to litigation hearings. Divorces can be ugly for all parties involved. Pre-divorce counseling can help prepare you for the emotional aspects of what is to come regarding the circumstances of your divorce.

Counseling can also show you and your spouse how to develop the necessary skills for separating practical issues with emotional ones. This is extremely important when dealing with decisions on dividing personal assets, acquired debt, and in many cases, children responsibilities. Counseling can assist you and your spouse when it comes to engaging with one another in a more productive environment so that all parties’ best interests are protected.

Counseling should be your attempt to navigate the separation process while going through the divorce in the most amicable way for both you and your spouse. This will result in the least collateral damage during the process, and will protect you, and possibly your children as well.

Is Pre-Divorce Counseling In The Best Interest For All Parties Involved?

If there are children involved, take a deeper look into the issues of your problems. You at least owe this to them and this may give you one last chance to keep your marriage together. If you have a good marriage counselor, and aren’t too far gone within your own relationship, you may be able to get back that strong bond your marriage once had. But, if you still feel like divorce is the best option, at least you will now have the added benefit of going through the process and you will come out much stronger because of it.

When choosing a pre-divorce counselor, it’s important to remember that they are not all alike. Some may be good, while others may not be as educated and experienced. If you and your spouse feel like your marital issues are not being addressed properly or being recognized at all, go to another counselor and see if they are able to help you better. Every counselor brings their own unique perspective to a situation. Healing a marriage can be a daunting task, and not all counselors may be up to that task when it comes to your circumstances.


On the other hand, if you find that you’re continuously bouncing from one counselor to another, maybe it’s time to take a good, long look at yourself and see if you are the one being resistant to what they are offering. Divorce can cause you many unwanted stresses. Counseling doesn’t have to be one of those stresses.