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Ask Maverick Your Own Question
Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 5733
Experience:  20 years of professional experience
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Complex situation – need advice morning. I am

Customer Question

Complex situation – need advice for tomorrow morning.
I am currently in the divorce process with my wife (Let’s call her Sally) – we have been separated since last summer.
The primary issue that led to the divorce was a sudden “partying” lifestyle that she took on.
Long story short – because of Sally’s actions (that included leaving my-step children with me on weekends when went out partying), the father of my step children (Let’s call him John) is suing her for full-custody of my step-children.
I have a beautiful daughter with Sally (Let’s call my daughter Emma) – and we have come to an agreement on a shared parenting plan for Emma – but our divorce is not final and so the papers are not signed.
John and I are using the same attorney – so she has detail on both cases. I am a key witness for John’s case. Our attorney told me that she wanted me to testify – but I told her I thought it was a conflict of interest. I thought she was respecting my wishes – but I JUST RECEIEVED a subpoena in the mail today!
(the hearing is tomorrow at 9:00AM!)
This case is in Indiana.
Now, I did NOT receive the letter via certified mail. (it was just sent via regular mail)
I would like to help John in his case, because I think the kids are better off with him – but I know Sally.
Sally is vindictive as hell. If I stand up there and testify that she stayed out all hours of the night and came home drunk – all chances of anything going amicably in our case is done. My guess is she will say that I lied …and am therefore not trustworthy – and therefore should not have shared custody…and then my case blows up and I have to fight for even shared custody. I don’t have the money to do that…and it would kill me to go that far back in the somewhat agreeable relationship that I have finally come to with Sally. If I take the stand and testify – she will forever remember that I “lied” as she will claim – and helped take her kids away from her. I am thinking about what is best for Emma and it is killing me.
So –1- From my understanding, a subpoena is not enforceable if it is not certified. Correct?
2- Please help me decide what to do here. I am trying to put what is best for Emma first.
If I take the stand I will tell the truth – and ruin any chance of a working relationship with Sally.
If I don’t – my lawyer is going to be angry – John is going to be angry (which I don’t want because he gives me access to my step kids).I have to decide TONIGHT with I am doing.Help(?)
JA: OK. The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: Not regarding this issue - I need advice TONIGHT
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: There's a lot of detail - but I think this covers the most important parts
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.
Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick. Please note that: (A) The information we provide is general information. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by communicating with me. If you want legal advice, you must consult with a local attorney in person before acting or deciding not to act based on any information given here; (B) Experts answer questions based on the honor system. When I feel that I have provided you with a complete answer, I will ask for you to assign a feedback rating so that JA will compensate me for my time; and (C) You should not be concerned about any short delays between your questions and my replies. Please know that I answer most questions within the hour if I am signed on. If I am not signed on, then I still make every attempt to respond within 24 hours. Thank you for taking the time to understand how this site works. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. Answer will follow in the pane below as per above parameters….
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Are you there Maverick?
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.
Here is the rule on that. It states: Service. A subpoena may be served by the sheriff or his deputy, a party or any person. Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to such person. Service may be made in the same manner as provided in Rule 4.1, Rule 4.16 and Rule 5(B). Yes, more to come...
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am fine with chat...
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I rec'd the subpoena by mail - it came to my office and was simply left in my mailbox. Are you saying that I am or am not legally obligated since it was not "served"?
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.
Look at rules 4.1, 4.16, and 5(B) HERE I am still reading them for an answer....
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
not really happy with my response here.
Are you a lawyer?
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.
5(B)(2) reads as follows: (2) Service by Mail. If service is made by mail, the papers shall be deposited in the United States mail addressed to the person on whom they are being served, with postage prepaid. Service shall be deemed complete upon mailing. Proof of service of all papers permitted to be mailed may be made by written acknowledgment of service, by affidavit of the person who mailed the papers, or by certificate of an attorney. It shall be the duty of attorneys when entering their appearance in a cause or when filing pleadings or papers therein, to have noted in the Chronological Case Summary or said pleadings or papers so filed the address and telephone number of their office. Service by delivery or by mail at such address shall be deemed sufficient and complete. SO it does appear that service may be made by regular mail; but it is unclear why the service of subpoena rules is so broad as to allow any method under 4.1, 4.16, and 5(B). 2- Please help me decide what to do here. I am trying to put what is best for Emma first. You really do no have a choice when subpoenaed to appear as you would be subject to contempt of court if you fail to appear and that can mean jail time or fines or both: Rule 45 states:"Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon him may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued..."
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.
Yes, I am a lawyer. I was trying to do a good job for you and read all the rules and interpret them for you. Please be patient. See this intro: " You should not be concerned about any short delays between your questions and my replies. Please know that I answer most questions within the hour if I am signed on. If I am not signed on, then I still make every attempt to respond within 24 hours."
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Sorry- thought you had abandoned me.
Thanks for the advice. I guess its more cut and dry than I thought.
Signing off now...
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

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