Can I subpoena banks for information even if debtor resides in another state and do I have to garnishthe debtor in their home state?

UPDATED: Feb 4, 2011

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Can I subpoena banks for information even if debtor resides in another state and do I have to garnishthe debtor in their home state?

I want to subpoena some banks for information on debtors accounts. I have a jjudgment issued in WA, for a debtor who resides in CA. Can I subpoena banks for information in WA even though debtor resides in CA? I am domesticating judgment to CA also. Additionally, can I garish these accounts through WA court or do I have to go through CA court? Just I have to wait 30 days to file once debtor is served. Let’s say that the debtor banking branch is in another sate than CA or WA. Do I have to domesticate judgment to that state?

Asked on February 4, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with an attorney in your are on this matter.  The use of subpoena's differs from state to state but generally speaking, they are a very strong instrument and may not be used lightly.  Some states do not allow even attorneys to issue subpoena's anymore because of the fear that they instill.  Also, banks and other financial institutions may not honor a subpoena unless they are "court ordered" or in other words, issued and signed by a Judge.  Collecting on a judgement from a debtor that is not physically in your state or has assets in a state can be very tricky.  If the judgement is substantial enough then you may want to consider speaking with a professional agency that collects debt.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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