Should courts allow service of process by Facebook or other social media, by text, or by email? Some might Should courts allow service of process by Facebook orother social media, by text, or by email? Some might say, “Well why not? So many people are finding their future spouse online. Why is it crazy to allow them to use the Internet to post notice of a divorce proceeding via social media?
As I described on my blog in 2009, a Shariah Court allowed a divorce by text message.
In New York, in March 2015, Justice Matthew Cooper, ruled that a woman could serve her husband his divorce papers via Facebook message, with her lawyer’s assistance. She couldn’t find a current address for her husband. The only means she had to contact him was through Facebook and the phone.
Judge Cooper ruled: “Under the circumstance presented here, service by Facebook, albeit novel and non-traditional, is the form of service that most comports with the constitutional standards of due process.” The judge said, “Not only is it reasonably calculated to provide [the] defendant with notice that he is being sued for divorce, but every indication is that it will achieve what should be the goal of every method of service: actually delivering the summons to him.” Cooper also noteds in his decision, serving papers via email has been periodically permitted by courts for about a decade.
Due Process: Service of process is primarily concerned with making sure the defendant is aware that a legal process is going on. The means of notifying people are the ones that have been deemed most effective in the past are either personal service—handing the notice face-to-face, or nailing it to the person’s front door, for example. Today’s world is a lot different. Often, the best way to contact somebody is online.
You can read Judge Cooper’s decision here. Pay special attention to the discussion about what proofs might be required to justify service by Facebook or other social media and/or email. Download Baidoo v Blood-Dzraku. FACEBOOK Service of Process