Can a divorce summons be served through Facebook? A judge in New York says “Yes”
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Divorce cases are initiated by the filing of a Petition for dissolution of marriage, a Summons, and one additional form to verify that the divorce filing in San Diego is at the correct courthouse location (there are 4). If children are involved, one additional form called a Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is filed.
Once the case is filed, a divorce judge in San Diego is assigned to the case, and all the filed stamped documents are returned to the filing party for “service”. Service means that the documents must be provided to the opposing party in some lawful manner to apprise them of the case. Usually this means that a process server actually physically hands the documents to the respondent. Other lawful ways to serve a divorce complaint (petition) may include mailing the documents to the respondent (but only in very limited circumstances), or transmitting the documents electronically or by fax if the respondent signs for receipt with a special form.
If a respondent cannot be found after “due diligence” is conducted to locate him or her, the court may authorize service by publication. This means that the divorce summons is published in a newspaper in the respondent’s last known place of abode and after a certain number of weeks the petitioner can file for “default”, which means moving forward in the case without the respondent’s involvement.
But what if the respondent can be found on Facebook or other social media site? Have you ever imagined that divorce papers could be served through Facebook? A judge in New York said, “Yes” to that question. For more on this story, click here.
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