On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
For some spouses, making the decision to end their marriage is not as difficult as it is for many others. There are certain circumstances in which divorce is the clear path, and where the only difficulties lie in the details of moving from married to single. One of those details involves serving the divorce paperwork to the other party. Like all other states, Florida has specific requirements for legal services. Some spouses wonder if they are able to use Facebook or other social media sites to complete this task.
Courts across the nation have faced this issue, and with differing results. In some cases, legal service through social media has been allowed; in other cases, the judge has refused to allow service through such non-traditional means. A recent case tested the matter when a wife sought to serve her estranged husband through Facebook. The husband had left her just three months into their marriage when she was six months pregnant. She believes that he left the country and is living abroad, but has no way to obtain his mailing address for the purposes of legal service.
In this case, the judge did not allow legal service through Facebook. In his ruling, the judge pointed out that because divorce includes serious matters related to property division and child custody, the highest standards must be met to ensure that both parties are notified of the proceedings and have the ability to participate. That ruling leaves the wife with few options, and it is unclear if she plans to appeal the decision.
For those in Florida who are planning to divorce and are concerned about serving the other party, it is important to understand the rules of service that must be followed. Service through social media is not yet widely accepted, and there is no guarantee that a judge will allow a non-traditional means of serving divorce papers. For spouses who are uncertain of their partner’s legal address, this can pose a challenge.
New York Post, “Judge rejects divorce papers served through Facebook“, Julia Marsh, Dec. 9, 2016