A close friend of mine with whom I've had an emotional but not sexual relationship with is going through a divorce. His wife is very unstable and has been harassing me. He's told her a lot about me in order to save his relationship with his 3 year old son but she is persisting and fabricating things that didn't happen. Her latest threat is that she is going to supeona me. What does this mean? Their primary residence is in Ct and she also has an apt in NYC. Additionally, I am a step away from filing a restraining order. How would this affect me? Thank you.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): New York
this is my first question
Thanks for your question.
If your friend is going through a divorce and his wife is threatening to subpoena you, that means she wants to compel you to be a witness in their divorce hearing. She may suspect you of having an intimate relationship with her husband, so she essentially wants to put him (and you) on the spot by making you come to court to tell the judge about your relationship (even though it may be totally platonic). Spouses do this, or threaten to do it, in divorce proceedings all the time - it's basically a form of intimidation, or an attempt to gain some sort of advantage (emotional, financial, etc). in the divorce.
By New York law, you can only obtain an order of protection (a.k.a. restraining order) against the following individuals in family court in New York state:
Since you do not have the sort of relationship with this woman to qualify for an order of protection through the family court, you could possibly obtain one in criminal court. You can obtain this type of restraining order against someone you are not married to and have no relationship with whatsoever. However, you would have to file a criminal complaint against the woman in order to do so. To find out if you qualify for this type of protection order, you would have to contact a local law enforcement agency or your local district attorney's office to discuss the matter in detail, so they could decide whether criminal charges (possibly harassment) would be appropriate.
Hope this helps.
I actually went to my police station last night and the sergeant told me (I live in NYC) my filing would cause her to be arrested immediately and there is no "wiggle room" under the law when it comes to domestic issues. It didn't feel right to me, so I am thinking about it, but I don't know what the next step should be.
It's confusing because as you said and as I've researched on my own, she doesn't fit into any of those categories.
What does a subpeona entail? Is it really that horrific? I kind of feel like, ok, do it. She is really crazy.
In any event, I am trying to reach my friend to find out what stage this is in. The last time we communicated was about 3 weeks ago and he said they were at peace and working on their marriage, and I have been working on mine.
I would also like to know what kinds of questions are involved in the police report and the subpeona. The sergeant indicated I would have to tell all the details and this makes no sense to me. I've told my husband an overview but not every gory detail and don't want him to find out about it like this.
I think - and this is just my personal opinion - that if you have her arrested, it's going to antagonize her, especially since you mentioned that she has mental problems. But, I don't know the extent of her harassment (i.e., whether she is threatening you with bodily harm, or, if the threat of a subpoena is the extent of it), so whether you have her arrested really depends on the seriousness of her conduct and how much of it you can tolerate. Everyone has his/her own personal limits, as far as that goes. If she and your friend are working on their marriage, and you're working on yours, it sounds as though the situation may have settled down a good bit (and hopefully, it will continue to do so), so you might want to hold off on filing criminal charges and requesting a protection order in the meantime - i.e., "let sleeping dogs lie," as the old saying goes.
Being subpoenaed is really not terrible, and many times, in domestic situations, the parties will only threaten to subpoena "the other woman" (that's likely what she perceives you to be, even though your relationship with her husband may be totally platonic), or, they'll issue their subpoena and then never call the person to testify -- they'll make the person come to court and wait around to be called in to testify, but then it doesn't happen. Again - just a scare/intimidation tactic. But, if you do end up getting subpoenaed, and you are called in fact called in to testify, the number one rule is to just be yourself and tell the truth.
Hope this is of some help to you. Good luck!
Are the laws in CT different from NYS? I thought both were no-fault. What does it mean that she's able to do this?
Also, who is present during the questioning?
Btw, I tend to agree with what you're saying.
Regardless of whether a state is no-fault, the parties can basically subpoena whoever they want for a court hearing.
But, if this woman is mentally unstable, or unless she has some knowledge of the law, she may not realize/understand that she wouldn't need to call you as a witness if they have a no-fault divorce. Again, she may simply be looking to threaten or intimidate you.
Present at the hearing would be the judge, both parties, their attorneys (if they have attorneys), and perhaps a court reporter.
I think she's opting for more than a no fault divorce, which you can do, is that right? He's placating her b/c of their son. The email she sent had the tone like she had already gone thru my friend's emails and texts, which I thought were deleted. Can you get text messages that are deleted? What would it take for her to subpoena my emails and texts etc., and make this a matter of public record to bring pain to my family, which she is threatening to do? Is that usual?
A friend suggested a cease and desist letter. What is that?
Yes, fault divorces still exist.
It is possible to subpoena text messages that have been deleted. A subpoena duces tecum (which is a subpoena for documents) would have to be issued to the cell phone service provider. I believe that is the only way to recover deleted text messages.
To recover your deleted emails, the same process applies - a subpoena duces tecum would have to be served on your email provider.
Yes, unfortunately, this sort of thing is typical. I've been practicing family law for a number of years, and quite often, the cases can get very emotional and sometimes painful to everyone that is involved, even if they aren't parties to the case.
A cease and desist letter is basically a letter that says, "Stop doing such-and-such, or I will report you to the police, or file a lawsuit, or get a restraining order," or whatever course of action you intend to take if the conduct doesn't stop. It's merely a warning letter, although if it's written/sent by an attorney, it can sometimes be effective.
my friend is on her 4th marriage. she says they are "uber effective"... she should know, right?
is fault divorce extremely expensive? why would anyone do that?
would i need to hire an attorney beyond having the cease and desist letter written?
It's hard to predict how much a divorce will cost. In terms of filing fees with the court, the cost would be the same whether it's a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. In terms of attorney fees, a fault divorce can be more expensive because the attorneys typically need more time to prepare. I'm not sure about your particular area, but divorce attorneys here in West Virginia charge around $200/hour out of court, and $300/hour in court.
I'm not sure if you would need to hire an attorney to do anything other than write a cease and desist letter for you.
23 years of experience; former prosecutor, magistrate, child support attorney
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).