Pros and Cons of Serving Divorce Papers Through Social Media
Pros and Cons of Serving Divorce Papers Through Social Media

While perhaps not an option for everyone, according to a New York court, a person can serve divorce papers via social media if that is the most practical option. Citing the Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku case, if the individual being served (defendant) has no known address but regularly checks Facebook, then serving divorce papers using this medium is legal.

For years, a process server or deputy sheriff served a defendant in an upcoming divorce case in person. Then, 10 years ago, serving papers became an option via email. Now, the internet and evolving laws have changed this practice. If the person who wants to serve the divorce papers (plaintiff) has valid concerns that personal service will be ineffective, Facebook might be an alternative. While serving divorce papers using social media might sound great, there are both pros and cons to consider.

Pros

  • Serving divorce papers via social media is relatively fast and easy.
  • It is convenient in that certain steps are eliminated for the plaintiff since the action is completed from a computer.
  • For a defendant who lives in a different city, state, or country, social media may be a viable option.

Cons

  • At this time, only a few decisions, primarily those coming from federal district courts, have even addressed the issue of serving divorce papers through social media.
  • Unless the papers are discreetly handled, this creates the possibility of the defendant being subjected to embarrassment and humiliation in that the posting would be public for others to see.
  • In seeking permission for a divorce summons via social media, the plaintiff is basically requesting the court to venture into uncharted waters. That means there is no guidance from clear judicial precedent.
  • Some people, including family members of the couple, will likely view this method as calculated and hurtful. This can cause major family rifts where there were none prior.
  • Although the Facebook account appears to belong to the defendant, it may not actually be his or hers.
  • There is always the risk that the defendant will not log onto his or her account to respond to the summons in the time legally allotted.
  • In using social media to serve divorce papers, there is concern that a backup method of service will still be required, only complicating things.

Because serving divorce papers via social media is still a novel action, there are more disadvantages than advantages. However, because each pending divorce is unique, one method is not necessarily better than another is. Even so, it is always best to sit down with a divorce or family law attorney to discuss the best course of action.

The last thing that you want to do is create more problems. In the event your situation is already somewhat heated, serving your soon-to-be ex-spouse divorce papers online could backfire. Divorce, even when uncontested, is serious. As such, it is important to make good decisions. With a reputable attorney on your side, you have the legal guidance needed to move forward and achieve the best outcome.

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