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New York judge gives the green light on Facebook divorce papers

Hiding from divorce papers may be much more difficult in the future. Following the ruling of a judge, a New York woman was given the right to serve her soon-to-be ex-husband divorce papers via the popular social media website Facebook. Although it is not likely that this will become the preferred course of action for serving papers, it could potentially be of significant value to those who are unable to locate a spouse.

The couple originally married in 2009, although they never actually lived at the same residence. According to the wife, the marriage deteriorated when her husband did not want to have a Ghanian wedding. This type of ceremony typically calls for involvement from both the husband's and wife's families.

Since then, the wife has been attempting to serve her ex-husband with divorce papers. Unfortunately, she has yet to be successful. Although she has reached him by phone on multiple occasions, he always denies having a permanent residence or a job, two common places where divorce papers are served. Finding an alternate way to serve the papers became necessary, and she filed a request with the court that would permit her to serve the papers to his Facebook profile page. The judge required that she prove that it was actually his page and that he used it frequently before approving the delivery.

Now that the papers have been successfully served to the man's Facebook account, he has a certain window of time in which he can reply before the process can move on without him. This is known as a divorce by default, and occurs when one party receives the divorce papers, but refuses to acknowledge the summons. While some issues like property division will still have to be dealt with afterward, the comfort of having a divorce granted can still be hugely beneficial to divorcees in New York.

Source: CNN, "Divorce by Facebook: New York woman gets OK to file papers online", Stephanie Gallman, April 7, 2015

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