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Utah is ahead of the curve in serving divorce papers online

When most Utah residents think of being served in a lawsuit, they think of the process server coming to the door, handing over papers and letting the person who answered the door know that he or she was served. As technologies improved, however, more courts began allowing electronic service as an alternate method. This applies to serving divorce papers as well.

Here in Utah, the legislature began to see the writing on the computer screen and changed its rules of civil procedure to allow for service through electronic formats. That was back in 2001, before social media even existed, legislators specifically mentioned email in the law. However, lawmakers were more forward thinking than that, and they included the language "other possible electronic means" in the change.

As texting and social media were born and increased exponentially in popularity, the law did not have to be changed again. Judges are free to interpret what that phrase means, which could include service through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. By 2010, the rules underwent another change to include a service affidavit that specifically addresses phone, text and social media as alternative means of service.

One of the most challenging aspects of many divorce cases is obtaining service upon the other party. Some people will avoid personal service as long as possible, so access to online alternatives is invaluable. That does not mean, however, that anyone can just send divorce papers to their soon-to-be former spouse online. In order to ensure that the service is legal, it would be a good idea to consult with an attorney, not only regarding service, but also for advice and assistance with the divorce process itself.

Source:, "Should it be legal to serve divorce papers on Facebook?", Roger Jones, Dec. 13, 2016

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