You can effectively use the subpoena for child support collection and obtain information about the whereabouts of the deadbeat as well as his assets. A subpoena is a court order requiring the person who has received it to appear in court and answer questions. The subpoena is a friend to moms who are trying to collect child support arrears when there is a MIA (missing in action) deadbeat daddy. Chances are that if you don’t know where the deadbeat lives or works, you might know where a family member or two of his lives -maybe his mother or aunt or sibling. My experience is that if you do know where they are and if you contact them, they won’t tell you where he is because either he has sworn them to secrecy or they have a sense of loyalty to him.
The subpoena is kind of like a magic wand or truth serum because you can get people to give you information that they would not normally tell you because they don’t want to and they don’t have to. When you serve them with a subpoena, they are now under court order and unless they want to lie and purger themselves, most people will tell you what you want to know. They may have a sense of loyalty but that loyalty will only go so far because most people will not want to face a possible contempt of court charge to protect someone else.
Write a list of questions that you have for the person you want to subpoena, serve the person who has the information that you want and ask all of the questions that you like. The person, once served, will be required by law to show up and answer all of your questions truthfully. You might want to ask them questions such as:
What is “John Brown’s” address?
Where does “John Brown” work?
Do you know where “John Brown” has bank accounts?
Do you know what credit cards “John Brown” has?
Remember that your goal is to gather information which might help you to locate the MIA deadbeat and his assets, not to be simply nosy.
The subpoena will only work if you and the person receiving the subpoena live or work in the same area or if you are willing to travel to where that person is. They will not be required to travel to you. If distance is involved, you will need to file a subpoena duces tecum, instead. This type of subpoena works the same way but you will ask your questions in a written format instead and they will be required to answer you in a written format. This can all be done through the mail.
Another angle is to subpoena someone who is unrelated to the MIA deadbeat and maybe even an enemy. They would be sure to regurgitate all information that they may have or suspect, and they would do it happily. Also consider utility companies, landlords, former business partners, etc that he may have run out on.
Step by step instructions on how to do this in your state and insider information on best practices is available in our document library.