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Serve divorce papers through social media? Judge says yes you can

There is generally a lot of controversy regarding the use of social media and the effects it can have on divorce proceedings. Status updates and pictures can be used in a negative way in order for one spouse, or the other, to get what they want out of the divorce. Earlier this month, however, a judge in New York granted the use of a social media site to assist one woman seeking the dissolution of her marriage from a man whom she has been unable to contact.

When an individual chooses to file for divorce, a summons is created and sent to his or her spouse. That spouse then has the responsibility to respond to the summons. What happens, though, when a spouse is missing in action?

The individual requesting the divorce should make every effort to contact their spouse. If, however, that proves unsuccessful, what other options are there? One woman in New York, through the approval of a Supreme Court judge, was granted the ability to serve her husband a divorce summons through a private message on his Facebook account. While this is not the first time approval was given to conduct family legal matters through social media, it is the first time a divorce summons was allowed to be served in this way.

Proceeding with a divorce filing through social media is not necessarily ideal, but, as social media is — in many cases — the best, and sometimes only, way to contact certain people, the ability to send legal documents through this type of account may prove beneficial. For now, the right to send divorce papers like this will likely only be considered on a case-by-case basis, but New York residents may file the appropriate requests to seek approval. Getting a divorce is rarely an easy thing to do, but the ability to start the process by serving papers should not be inhibited due to the inability to find or contact a spouse. If desired, assistance is available to take any and all appropriate legal actions necessary to begin, work through and finish divorce proceedings, allowing both spouses the ability to move forward.

Source: wabe.org, “Facebook Used To Serve Divorce Summons”, John Lorinc, April 11, 2015

Important Information

COVID-19 (Novel Corona Virus)  Update 3-20-2020

By order of Governor Andrew Cuomo, beginning 3-22-2020, all non-essential business in New York state must close their physical offices in response to the rapid rate of positive reported cases of COVID-19 in New York State.

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Larkin, Ingrassia & Tepermayster, LLP


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