Q: My new husband has been in a chapter 13 bankruptcy for 4 years with 1 year left. We just got married. His attorney
wants copies of my pay stubs. I said “no” I have nothing to do with this. This was before we were married. Can the court subpoena my pay stubs? I have no official court order demanding that I provide my pay stubs. Can I refuse since I have nothing to do with his bankruptcy?
A: The Bankruptcy Trustee can subpoena them. This is a situation called "change in circumstances" and allows the Trustee to request and augment the Plan in light of same. I would comply with your Husband's Counsel and discuss same with him/her
I'm in the Eastern District of PA, and our two Ch. 13 Trustees, once a plan has been confirmed, require nothing further from the debtors (unless the debtor initiates, e.g., a modification of a confirmed plan due to reduction of income). I have not recently dealt with this issue in the Middle District or Western District.
However, to answer your precise question about the court's power to enforce a subpoena (the court does not issue a subpoena, the trustee or other parties/litigants do that), yes, the bankruptcy court is empowered to do so. But I strongly suspect that the court, if asked to enforce a subpoena (e.g., issued by a Trustee) would ask, "To what end?" is the subpoena designed to assist. You, preferably with the assistance of counsel, can file a Motion to quash any subpoena, and that would trigger a hearing before the judge.
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