Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Can you be served divorce papers via Facebook?

Initiating a divorce should be a simple process. You hire a process server or enlist the services of the local sheriff to deliver your summons and petition, you receive an Affidavit of Service, and the process begins after your documents are filed. However, there are some circumstances where the person you are attempting to serve intentionally stays out of sight; especially when he or she knows that you are trying to serve them.

So what can be done when this happens?

In some situations, an Affidavit of Not Found may be helpful, or the law may direct a specific course of action for notifying someone through a local publication. But a story out of New York may offer a new way for people to serve legal documents.

Essentially, the court has allowed a woman to serve divorce papers through a Facebook notice. According to a WashingtonPost.com report, serving the documents has been particularly difficult since her soon-to-be ex-husband has no registered physical address. Additionally, he has no driver’s license with a current address, the post office has no forwarding address and the Department of Motor Vehicles has no record of him. 

However, the woman keeps in occasional contact with him via Facebook. With that, the court ordered that the woman’s attorney must log into her Facebook account and post a message to him notifying him of the petition that would be filed. The post must be made once per week for three weeks, much like a legal notice in the local newspaper.

It remains to be seen whether this process will be successful, or whether it will be allowed in Virginia divorce cases.

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