Subpoenaed For Boss’s Divorce

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being subpoenaed:

My boss’s wife is supposedly going to have me subpoenaed in their divorce. They owned the company together that I am the secretary for. I do some light bookkeeping but he has an accountant and an accounting firm. What could she want with me? Do I have to go?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

We are not attorneys and can’t give legal advice. If you have strong concerns about what you may be asked or the impact on you, you should consult an attorney for advice. However, the power of a subpoena is well known and I can tell you that yes, you must respond to a subpoena. It’s a court order and it’s crucial to both civil and legal courts that subpoenas be honored.

Most likely many people have been subpoenaed, especially those who can testify to the amount of business done by the company, the amount of work done by the wife in comparison to the work done by the husband, what each contributed to growing the business and similar issues. If there are accusations about cheating on the marriage, you might be asked about issues pertaining to that situation.

Generally, unless you are part of the divorce for some reason (a relationship with your boss or knowledge of covering up money, etc.) you have nothing to fear from testifying. It’s not a criminal trial and you apparently are not in jeopardy yourself. But again, let me emphasize that we aren’t attorneys and don’t know the circumstances of your situation. I can well understand why you hope to avoid being dragged into this personal matter. It’s a difficult situation, but one that confronts many employees. Probably you will end up doing like them: They fulfill the court order by appearing, answering truthfully, sighing with relief when it’s over and thinking it wasn’t as bad as they had expected it to be. Best wishes to you!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.