In order for a court to obtain jurisdiction over another spouse in a divorce proceeding and to allow the matter to proceed, formal service of legal papers must be obtained on the other spouse. Typically, this involves sending the papers through the U.S. mail or by having the papers served personally. A judge in New York, however, recently permitted a new form of service: messaging through Facebook.
A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice recently granted a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based nurse authorization to serve her estranged husband with a divorce summons through a private message on Facebook. According to the court’s ruling, the “transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to the defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged.” The right to have notice of court proceedings filed against one is a fundamental right of due process that everyone is afforded.
New York has also permitted the service of legal papers over Facebook in the past. Just last year, a Staten Island Support Magistrate judge allowed a former husband to use Facebook to let his ex-wife know that he no longer wanted to pay child support when his son turned 21. Attorneys practicing in the area of family law have noticed an increase in courts allowing service through social media, but usually only as a last resort.
Service of Divorce Papers in Ohio
Under Ohio Civil Rule of Procedure 4.1, there are several methods by which a spouse may complete service of divorce papers on another spouse. These methods include service by the United States certified or express mail or by commercial carrier service, by personal service, or by residence service. Residence service involves leaving a copy of the process and the complaint, or another document to be served, at the usual place of residence of the person to be served with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein.
If service cannot be obtained by one of these methods then one may petition the court to allow service by publication. Before service by publication will be allowed, one must file an affidavit with the clerk stating that service of summons “cannot be made because the residence of the defendant is unknown” and that it is not reasonably possible to find the defendant’s residence.
Contact Our Cleveland Divorce Attorneys
If you have questions regarding the divorce process, it is important to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney who can guide you through the process. The Cleveland divorce attorneys at Laubacher & Co. have experience representing individuals in contested divorce proceedings. In addition to divorce, our divorce attorneys have can help you with other marriage termination options, including dissolution, annulment, legal separation, and collaborative divorce.