Delivering divorce papers gets social
Social media plays a bigger role in our relationships than ever before. Sites like Facebook serve as a means of connecting people and facilitating communication all across the world. It also can be an important factor when it comes to disputes between spouses. Facebook activities often come up in divorce hearings if there are allegations of infidelity or other exchanges that could impact property division or child custody.
Until recently, however, the use of Facebook was only relevant to couples before filing for divorce or afterwards. Now, thanks to a recent ruling by a judge in another state, Facebook may now play a critical role in actually setting the divorce proceedings into motion.
The case in front of the judge involved a woman who wanted to file for divorce. She and her husband had been married for just a short time before the union disintegrated. The husband apparently moved away and left his wife without any information of where he could be found.
However, the woman was able to communicate with her husband through Facebook. She asked for permission from the court to serve her husband the divorce papers via Facebook instead of through the mail or in person, since he could not be located.
The judge granted the woman’s request allowing her to send divorce papers to him through Facebook’s messaging service. It was determined that the papers would be sent three times or until the husband responded. If he does not respond, the woman and her attorney must reach out through phone calls or texts to let the husband know he could find the divorce summons in his message inbox.
This case is the first time a judge has allowed a spouse to deliver divorce summons through the social media site, and it likely will not be the last. However, it is important to understand that this is not always an appropriate solution.
If you are looking to file for divorce or have been served with papers and must respond, you need to know the legal processes that must be observed. Rather than trying to deal with these difficult decisions alone or through informal channels that may only make things more complicated, it can be wise to consult an attorney to proceed in a formal and official manner.
Source: TIME, “You Can Now Serve Divorce Papers on Facebook,” Laura Stampler, April 6, 2015