So many aspects of life have changed over the past several decades that it is no surprise that the way people communicate has also changed in favor of texting and messaging in place of face to face conversations and old-fashioned letter writing. Another possible change on the horizon is the way couples inform one another that divorce papers have been filed. New Jersey residents may be interested to learn that Facebook may soon play a role in this process.
The advent of social media has completely altered the way people relate to one another. So it may come as no surprise that the courts are taking another look at social media platforms as a possible means of allowing a plaintiff to serve notice to a spouse or a third party that he or she is being sued. Regardless of the reason behind the civil action, one issue of importance is ensuring that the party who has been sued receives notification in a timely fashion. Up until recently, the preferred method of notification that a civil case is pending was through the postal service by way of a registered letter or through a process server.
The problem with both of these methods is that they are not always successful, especially if the defendant has no desire to be served with papers. Now, at least one state is taking a proactive stance and has recently rewritten its codes governing how people are to be notified to include electronic mail and social media platforms. On the other hand, one judge has had to rule against Facebook as a suitable means of notification once it was discovered there was no way to ensure the intended recipient would get the notice in a timely fashion.
Once the challenge of verifying that the correct person receives the notice is remedied, then it may become commonplace for estranged spouses to send notice that a divorce has been filed by way of Facebook. Doing so may give a whole new meaning to the popular term unfriended. New Jersey families who are contemplating taking the step of filing for a divorce do have the option of seeking guidance and information from a qualified professional who can assist them in all aspects of the process, including the best means for notifying the other spouse that the marriage has ended.
Source: theamericangenius.com, “Should it be legal to serve divorce papers on Facebook?“, Roger Jones, Dec. 13, 2016