When you file for divorce, among the issues you will have to resolve with your spouse is how to divide your marital assets and how much spousal and child support may be paid from one party to the other, if applicable. To make those determinations, both of you have to share financial information. Spouses have the right to financial records in divorce related to the marriage regardless of where they may be located. If your spouse refuses to give you that information, you can obtain them by utilizing a subpoena. However, a subpoena can only be enforced in the state from which it originates. As such, if your spouse has records in another state, you need to take additional steps.
What Types of Financial Records Can You Obtain from Your Spouse?
You can obtain records for accounts maintained during the marriage including bank, retirement and investment accounts; loans; credit card balances; insurance policies; wills; trusts; deeds/title certificates; tax returns; business records and other relevant documents. Typically, you would start with records from the last 3 years but you may be able to obtain additional years depending on the circumstances.
How Can You Obtain a Subpoena for Financial Records in Another State?
Many states have adopted the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act which allows a person in one state to utilize a subpoena in another state by following certain steps.
For example, a spouse in Connecticut who wants to subpoena financial records in New York can hire a New York attorney to draft and serve a subpoena on the New York person or entity. There must be a Connecticut subpoena for it to be modeled after and attached to the New York subpoena. The spouse seeking the records can also go directly to the county clerk’s office and handle the matter personally. The New York subpoena must contain the same language as the original Connecticut subpoena and include as attachments any Connecticut commissions or court orders authorizing the out-of-state discovery. These documents would then be served on any New York parties holding the financial records being sought.
Similarly, if a spouse in New York wanted financial records from another state, the spouse would go to an attorney in the other state that has adopted the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act to prepare and serve the appropriate paperwork as discussed above.
Typically, if you have a divorce attorney, he or she will handle finding an attorney in the other state.
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, you should talk with your attorney about whether to bring in a forensic accountant to conduct further investigations.
Without complete financial records, you cannot come to a fair determination of how to split your assets and award support. Working with an experienced matrimonial attorney can ensure you get the documents you need and help you achieve a positive outcome in your case. If you are considering divorce, contact us for a consultation.