Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams, and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today, we will be discussing finding your co-parents’ money.
In most Maryland family law cases there is something called Discovery. Discovery is a tool for the parties to either find out what they need to prove their case or to find out what they need to disprove the other party’s case during Discovery you can seek out information from multiple sources and that will help you prove your case in court.
There are different types of discovery tools you can use to find out information. One of the more important discovery tools is subpoenas and the power to subpoena is very important when dealing with domestic litigation. A subpoena has the power to require a third party or even an opposing party to provide information about the opposing party or even your records that you may not necessarily have access to. These records can be crucial and important in making your case or disproving the other side’s case during a domestic matter. One of the types of documents that I like to subpoena are mortgage applications. Sometimes opposing parties claim that they have limited funds or that they don’t have any resources. However, often they’ve recently purchased a house and when someone has recently purchased a home, they have provided every bit of relevant financial information in their mortgage application, so the most up-to-date information about their finances will be in their mortgage application. So, subpoenaing those records are very simple and you can use those records to actually prove more information than if they were responding to a document production request or even interrogatory because they will do everything they can to disclose all of their assets and liabilities in those applications. One of the other things that we like to do is subpoena bank account records. Bank account records are important because they show you how your opposing party is actually living and what they are using regarding their expenses, other sources of funds that are coming in, and you can see if for example, during an adultery case if they’re sending money to certain people that they’re claiming they’re not sending money to or if you have a dissipation case that large chunks of money are going out to a completely different account that they may not necessarily have disclosed to the court. It’s very important to subpoena bank records in a domestic case. Similar to a mortgage application, a lease agreement will disclose as much financial information as possible, but it’s not necessarily as thorough as a mortgage application, but one of the crucial things in a lease agreement that might not necessarily be in a mortgage application is that in a lease agreement they will make a statement under penalties of perjury about how much income they make on a monthly basis and whether or not they can improve that with their bank statements or whether or not they can prove that with their pay stubs that is the amount that they’ve sworn to under oath being their income even if they’re saying something completely different today and that is a highly prejudicial piece of information that’s worth subpoenaing because you can use that as a baseline for their financial income. Employment records are important because you can find out a lot of the details about their employment that they may not know or may not necessarily have been disclosed. You can find out about any retirement accounts. You can find out about any benefits. You can find out about any deferred payment plans. You can find out a lot of information by just subpoenaing employment records from an employer. There’s even been situations where someone stated that they were terminated, but upon subpoenaing their employment records we found out that they quit their job and that’s a big difference because if you’re staying under oath that you were fired, but you actually quit that can have implications in your custody or divorce matter.
One of the other tools we like to use during discovery is an asset search or even a skip trace. And when it comes to asset searches those can be important because they can find out lots of different types of assets such as real property assets, cars titled in their name that they may not necessarily have disclosed. Some people may have multiple properties out of state, but if your lawyer, even a diligent lawyer will look up land records to find out if someone owns any property in Maryland. They may not necessarily research every land record database in the United States, an asset search will call all those records and they will find out if they have any other property titled in their name, when those assets were acquired, how much they were acquired for, and if anybody else is on the title. It can cut down on a lot of legwork and help you focus on the information you need to prove your case.
If you have any questions about Discovery issues or what to do about finding out information about your partner’s financial resources, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.