Articles from The Mediator

Serving Papers on Facebook

Can you serve papers via social media? A New York court has recently said ‘sometimes, yes’, allowing service of legal papers using Facebook.

A divorced father trying to get his child support changed had tried more conventional means of providing his ex with legal notice of his request. Apparently, she had moved out of her home and left no forwarding address. He Googled her to no avail, and other relatives didn’t return messages. But she did maintain an active Facebook page.

So the father asked a Staten Island Support Magistrate if he could use her Facebook account to serve her. The Magistrate OK’d the request, agreeing that it was very difficult for the father to reach his ex through traditional means, and that the active Facebook account would work.

One of the first known uses of Facebook to serve papers happened in Australia. Since then, courts in the U.K., Canada and New Zealand — as well as in Virginia — have also OK’d this.

“There are people who only exist online,” commented the Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s criminal justice cyber crimes committee, saying that this can be a useful tool to serve papers when other methods fail.

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