MustI appear at a divorce trial if I am subpoenaed?

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MustI appear at a divorce trial if I am subpoenaed?

I have been named as a witness in a divorce trial. I live 120 miles from where the case is being heard. I have not been served with anything yet, but if I am, I still do not want to show up to court for a couple reasons. For 1 thing, I’m a single working mother and cannot take off work and drive 2 hours each way for court. For another, I’ve been named as a witness from my boyfriend’s soon to be ex-wife. He filed for a divorce for 3 years ago. Even though we have only been together for about 10 months she is still claiming adultery. This is not a criminal trial, so I wasn’t sure if I had to appear.

Asked on March 10, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A subpoena is a direct order from a court for the recipient's appearance at the place and time stipulated in it.  If a subpoena is properly served and is ignored, an FTA (failure to appear) can result in a contempt of court charge which is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.  And this is true even in your case whether or not it will be an inconvenience for you to appear.  Also, even though you don't know why you are being called as a witness since you have only been together with this man for 10 months, you must comply with this subpoena.

Note:  The fact is that there is a possibily that you won't even have to testify; many times people are subpoenaed but never take the stand.  If, however, you are called then make sure to tell the truth as simply and concisely as you know it. 


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