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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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My friend lives with his girlfriend. He owns the house, she

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My friend lives with his girlfriend. He owns the house, she pays him some rent.

Her ex husband has a maintenance/alimony obligation with 4 more years to go.

He,the ex, is requesting an end to or reduction of his maintenance amount because she is now living in a "Marital type" relationship. Wisconsin Law is clear that if a maintenance recipient remarries maintenance ends. Wisconsin Law is also very clear that Married is married and not is not. eg No "Palimony" type awards for cohabitators.

Now my friend has been subpoenaed by the ex's attorney to a deposition with a "Duces Tecum" order to bring all of his financial records.(and I mean ALL)

Does he need to appear? Does he need to produce ALL of his financial records? Should he move to Quash the Subpoena since he is not a party or a spouse and his finances are not relavent to her position? etc.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

A subpeona is a court order, which means that a person who receives it must appear unless he is able to have it Quashed. Otherwise, he risks being held in Contempt of Court. Some subpoenas are only for records, which means that a person who produces the records before the stated date does not have to appear if he just sends them to the party that issued the subpoena. If the subpoena doesn't say, then he most likely needs to appear, but he should read it to see what it says.

If he believes that his financial situation is not relevant to the divorce proceeding (and it's really not - if they were married, alimony would terminate regardless of his income), he can file a Motion to Quash. Essentially, he is asking the judge to ask that he does not have to respond to the subpeona because the information requested has nothing to do with the case. The motion is filed in the court that issued the subpeona, with copies to each party. If his girlfriend has an attorney in the divorce, he may be able to help.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Have you reviewed the applicable WI law? Do you know that the cohabitant's financial info is irrelevant?

Yes, I reviewed the applicable law. It is possible that the ex will be able to raise a set of facts that would make the new partner's income relevant. However, relevance is one of the best arguments to make to get a subpoena quashed. It may also be possible to argue that the request is overly broad and unduly burdensome, depending on how much information is being requested. For example, a request for 10 years of bank statements is probably going to be overly broad and unduly burdensome.

I didn't address this earlier, because you were only asking about quashing the subpoena, and I was addressing ways that could be attempted. However, if the judge finds that she's in a relationship similar to marriage, such as cohabitiating with another person, there's a good chance that he'll terminate her alimony. See Taake v. Taake, 70 Wis.2d 115 (1975). However, this has nothing to do with the new partner's income. It only has to do with the fact of the cohabitation and the idea that a former spouse shouldn't have to pay for the ex to live with someone else. Thus, if they're living together, sexually cohabitating, and sharing expenses, his income shouldn't matter - her alimony will terminate no matter what his income.

If the Motion is quashed regarding the financial information, it's possible that he would still have to appear to answer questions regarding their relationship, unless the parties can agree to stipulate that she is living with a new partner and that his appearance is not necessary to confirm that fact.
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