Sometimes, it’s easier to locate your spouse on Facebook and social media
In the USA, more than half of the population are active Facebook users. They spend an average of 40 minutes a day engaging with Facebook—liking, sharing, following, and messaging. For many, it’s their main way to maintain social connections. Facebook has become the place where we live. No matter where we move, we still have the same Facebook address and connections. In fact, courts have agreed that like a home address, email address or work address, Facebook can be seen as a valid way to serve divorce papers.
Facebook messages are an alternate way to serve divorce and custody notices
In divorce cases, spouses requesting the divorce must make a reasonable effort to ensure that their spouse is aware of the divorce action and has an opportunity to appear in the court proceedings. The preferred method to provide this notice is via a process server to deliver the notice in person. But, when this proves difficult, the court may allow the spouse initiating the divorce to serve notice via an alternative method.
The case of Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku. In the 2015 case of Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku, the judge allowed a husband to be served via Facebook private messaging. In this case, the spouses married in 2009, but they never shared a residence. The husband refused to arrange a place to be personally served with divorce papers. His last known address was vacated in 2011. And, though they spoke via phone, the husband told the wife that he had no known email address, no known home address and no place of employment. The wife hired private investigators to attempt to locate him, but they were unable to do so.
The wife had communicated with the husband on Facebook and had evidence that verified the Facebook page was not a fake profile. She and her attorney were also able to contact him via phone and text message. As a result, the court ruled that the husband could be served via Facebook and text message.
The court instructed her attorney to log into the wife’s Facebook account and send a private Facebook message to the husband. The message must say that it is from the wife’s attorney and it includes a link to or image of the divorce summons. The Facebook message was to be repeated once a week for three consecutive weeks or until it was acknowledged by the husband (whichever occurs first). In addition, the court also ordered the wife and her attorney to call and text message the husband to inform him that the divorce papers were sent via a Facebook message.
Noel B v. Anna Maria A. The 2014 case of Noel B v. Anna Maria A was a request to change the child support agreement. The husband was unable to serve the notice to his wife because he did not have an address. While he attempted other ways of contacting his wife, the court agreed that Facebook was the “best chance of the [wife] getting actual notice” of the child support modification actions.
Many other courts found these cases to be a ground-breaking ruling and it is now more common for courts to allow service of divorce-related notices via Facebook and other social media.
New Brunswick, NJ attorney understands social media’s impact and usefulness
Attorney Steven Cytryn can help you understand how social media can be used in divorce, custody and support cases. As an experienced NJ divorce lawyer, Steven Cytryn provides compassionate and aggressive advocacy for clients who wish to end their marriage. Contact the Law Offices of Steven M. Cytryn online or at (732) 214-1103.