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Woman gets permission to serve divorce petition via Facebook

From the time they were married in 2009, an out-of-state couple had issues. The marriage quickly fell apart, and the woman wanted a divorce. However, as some Utah residents may have experienced during their divorce proceedings, her soon-to-be ex-husband did not make it easy for her to serve him with the divorce papers.

He continuously claimed that he did not have a permanent address or a job. He also denied requests to make himself available to be served. Therefore, the woman went to the court seeking an alternative method of fulfilling the legal service requirement, and the method she asked to use was a bit unorthodox.

She asked the court if she could serve her husband on Facebook. In his ruling, the New York judge acknowledged the fact that social media sites such as Facebook have become part of popular culture. He further noted that delivering a summons to an individual through a Facebook post could eventually become an accepted method of alternative service. Of course, as is the case with any means of service that is out of the ordinary, she was required to prove to the judge that the Facebook account in question belonged to her husband and that he logs in on a consistent basis.

Facebook already plays a part in many divorce cases across the country. The parties often use posts and pictures from social media as evidence. Now, Utah residents may get the opportunity to use it to establish service and move the divorce proceedings along when delivering the necessary paperwork to the other party is problematic.

Source: CNN, "Divorce by Facebook: New York woman can file online", Stephanie Gallman, April 7, 2015

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