A divorce is not easy, but it can be a lot harder when the person you are divorcing will not even cooperate in the divorce process. An uncooperative spouse can make it quite difficult to obtain the evidence you will need to ensure that you receive a just and fair divorce settlement.

Thanks to uncooperative spouses, divorce attorneys in Cerritos often hear questions like these from their clients:

1. How can I prove that my wife or husband is not too sick to work?
2. How can I prove that my wife or husband is working and paid “under the table?”
3. How can I prove that my wife or husband is hiding assets?

If you are getting a divorce in this state, and if your spouse is not cooperating, you’ll need to know how to obtain information about your spouse’s income and assets. You’ll learn that below.


But the most important thing to know about divorce in southern California is that from the very beginning of the process, you must have the insights and guidance that an experienced Cerritos divorce lawyer can provide.

So how can you acquire the documentation and evidence that you’ll need for your divorce? By using subpoenas. In California, a subpoena is one of the most powerful legal tools that your divorce attorney can use on your behalf.

A partner who is hiding assets during a divorce is trying to hold onto more than his or her share of the marital assets while keeping the other partner from receiving his or her fair share. It’s a completely illegal and unethical strategy, but it happens all too often in divorces in California.

Subpoenas may also compel unwilling witnesses to testify. Someone who is a friend of both spouses may not want to become involved in their divorce. Divorces often have genuinely high stakes, so some parties may be unwilling to offer their testimony or other valuable information.


A subpoena, however, can legally force an unwilling party to participate.

A subpoena is a court order; the recipient of a subpoena must comply with the order unless that person has an acceptable legal reason for not complying. There are several types of subpoenas, but these are the subpoenas that are most likely to be used in a California divorce proceeding:

1. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing (form SUBP-001): This subpoena compels a witness to appear at a trial or evidentiary hearing.

2. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents (form SUBP-002): This subpoena includes an order to the witness to bring a certain item or items of evidence when he or she appears and testifies at the trial or evidentiary hearing.

3. Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records (form SUBP-010): This subpoena requests business records that, in a divorce, may include bank and credit card statements, investment accounts, employment records, medical records, and more.


SUBP-010 is especially helpful in divorce situations where one spouse is suspected of underreporting income or hiding assets.

Some people are quite creative when they underreport income or hide assets. Some divorcing spouses try to hide assets in foreign banks. Others temporarily shift ownership of their assets to a friend or a relative. All kinds of deceptions have been used.

If you reasonably believe that the partner you are divorcing has not provided the court with complete and accurate financial disclosure information, inform your divorce lawyer immediately.

If your spouse tries to deceive the court regarding property and assets, he or she could be compelled to pay your attorney’s fees or could even be ordered to jail for contempt of court. California judges have the authority to deal harshly with deception in divorce cases.


The frequent need for subpoenas in divorce cases is one reason why, if you are divorcing in southern California, you must have a reputable divorce attorney representing you and advocating on your behalf.

If you are not an attorney, you probably will not know the different types of subpoenas and how they are issued. Your divorce attorney routinely handles these matters and knows what it takes to protect your rights in a divorce case.

At your first consultation with your divorce attorney, the two of you should review the facts in your case and try to determine which persons you may need as witnesses and which records you may need to obtain – in other words, what subpoenas will need to be requested.

Your divorce attorney will help you to identify the types of records you may need to subpoena for your divorce proceeding.


Ignoring a subpoena can place someone in contempt of court, which is punishable with fines, and in some cases, time in jail.

You could also be penalized if you try to obtain evidence for your case illegally. For example, if you believe that documents in your spouse’s computer can prove that your spouse is under-reporting his or her income, you can’t simply hack into the computer or steal the password.

Instead, have your divorce attorney request a subpoena for the information you need. That’s the legal way to do it. Courts will only allow evidence that meets admissibility requirements.

Subpoenas are sometimes misused in divorce cases. An unethical lawyer might seek a subpoena, not for a good legal reason, but simply to upset and distract the other side. If this happens in your divorce, your own attorney should contest any requests for unnecessary subpoenas.


Here in southern California, if you are considering a divorce, or if you are served with divorce papers, you are going to need legal help as early as possible in the divorce process. You will need to speak at once with an experienced Cerritos divorce lawyer.

Your divorce lawyer will explain your rights, your options, and how the law applies in your own divorce. Your attorney will protect your long-term best interests and see to it that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce procedure.

When you divorce in California, a lawyer’s help is imperative, and moreover, it is your right.