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Social media and the service of process

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Nevada residents who have been divorced or who contemplating filing for one a pair of cases from New York City have raised interesting questions regarding the legal notification and service of process to spouses and ex-spouses who do not want to be found. It remains to be seen whether courts in Nevada will ultimately adopt this approach.

Two divorce-related issues have been resolved lately using the cooperation of the courts and Facebook notifications. In the first, a man needed to legally notify his former spouse of his intention to stop paying child support, but he was unable to contact his ex-wife through any available means. However, she was a Facebook user and could be contacted there. After a court hearing, the man obtained permission to serve her the legal papers through the social media platform.

In the second of the cases, a pair of people from Ghana got married in 2009 but did not find their marriage to be lasting. The wife attempted to find the husband and serve him with her divorce petition, but he could not be found. Even a private investigator could not locate the man, although he was a regular user of Facebook and could be contacted that way. She demonstrated to the court that social media was the only method of communication that could be used, so the court allowed her to serve the papers that way.

Every spouse has the right to the legal notification of an impending divorce proceeding. However, if the spouse refuses to be notified or even conceals themselves to prevent important information from reaching them through accepted channels, then an attorney may be able to suggest alternate methods of serving relevant documents.

Source: Mashable.com, "Divorce notice by Facebook? Doable, but it depends on where you live," J. P. Mangalinden, April 7, 2015

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