Would an Attorney Subpoena Credit Card Statements During a Bankruptcy?

We are accustomed to thinking of our financial records as private but there are many instances where our credit statements can become part of public court records under the law. There are several reasons for an attorney to subpoena your card statements. The most common scenarios are listed below.

Divorce actions are emotionally charged and much of the angst and argument seem to be in the area of debt the couple owes. Credit card debt is a big part of many court divorce proceedings.

Why can an attorney subpoena your statements? Credit cards are often used as a weapon in divorces. When a couple makes the decisions to separate it is likely there is credit card debt that has accumulated during the marriage. The decision of who is to pay off that debt may be made between the parties involved or may be decided by the court.

Sadly, it is not unusual for one partner to go on a spending spree with jointly held credit cards prior to a divorce becoming final. The credit accounts may be in both partner's names, may be in one partner's name but co-signed by the spouse or it could be one spouse is only an authorized user on credit cards help by their partner.

Different Earnings

In many marriages, one partner earns considerably more than their spouse. The court will make a decision on who is responsible for credit card debt payment based on who used the cards, who can afford the debt repayment and whether the debt accrued benefited both partners.

If the person with lower earnings feels they will not be held responsible for the credit card debt by the court they may choose to buy everything they want before they lose the ability to use those cards.

An attorney can subpoena my statements if he feels I have unfairly increased debt even after a divorce action was begun. If the attorney can prove I did so deliberately in an attempt to harm my spouse, I may be stuck with paying off that debt even though I have a much lower income.

IRS and Other Taxing Authorities

Can an attorney subpoena my card statements if I am being questioned by the IRS. Yes, this is a possible scenario! The charges on your credit card statements over time tell a story about your financial management and about your lifestyle as well.

How many politicians have suffered through scandals because of what they charged on their credit cards? The answer - quite a few.

Credit cards with high spending limits can be used to launder money just as online payments processors can if unregulated. A subpoena for your statements is usually an effort to disprove a statement you have made and the financial statements of lenders are not a private as you might think.

Bankruptcy

If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, it is likely part of the filing is to discharge credit card debt. As a rule, this unsecured debt is almost always dissolved in bankruptcy or, in the case of Chapter 13, you will pay only pennies on the dollars owed to list the debt as paid.

However, there are lenders who will fight your attempt to have the debt dismissed. If they choose to do this, their attorney will subpoena your credit card statements in an attempt to prove their position.

Can an attorney actually subpoena your credit card statements for a bankruptcy filing? Unless the debt dismissal is being challenged, you would have to supply your attorney and the bankruptcy court with your credit card statements at the time you file for bankruptcy.

Summary

Many people think their financial records are off limits to others. This is not the case when finances are involved in a legal judgment or court action. There are many cases where an attorney can subpoena your card statements. I would also recommend you to read our section on secured credit cards if you have few minutes over!