The Many Ways to Serve Divorce Papers – Some More Conventional Than Others
A short time ago, we wrote about how social media was playing more and more of a role in the divorce rate in America. Now it seems as though it’s becoming the very platform on which the process is being initiated. In late March a New York City woman was granted permission by a judge to serve her wayward husband with divorce papers via Facebook Messenger. Before you take to the Internet to serve your would-be ex with the bad news, consider the following circumstances: the woman’s husband had no permanent address or job. Since marrying in 2009, they’ve communicated solely by phone and Facebook. Does this sound like your marriage?
While the circumstances surrounding the divorce are admittedly extraordinary, it will certainly be interesting to see what sort of precedent this sets going forward in the arena of New York divorce law. There is current no precedent for such a procedure in New Jersey. There are currently strict procedures in place that couples must follow if they are to initiate divorce proceedings in New Jersey. Papers must be hand delivered by an adult representative other than the spouse who files the divorce or sent via certified mail.
If it becomes impossible to locate your spouse or serve them the papers, the court may also grant the right to serve them via publication. This involves announcing the divorce petition in a newspaper where your spouse is likely to be living for a specified amount of time. You will need to return a copy of the newspaper notice, with a statement for how long the notice ran, to the court for proof of service.
With all of these methods, there is still nothing on the books that says Facebook is an acceptable form of delivery. Currently, the law doesn’t even allow you to email divorce papers. With the rapid proliferation and dominance of social media, however, it may be only a matter of time before all that changes. If you need help initiating or moving through the divorce process, talk to an experienced attorney so you can get the help you need to do it right.
Graziano & Flynn specialize in helping clients move through their divorces with minimal time and collateral damage. Contact us today so we can begin to protect your interests regarding spousal support, child custody and more.