Millions of people enjoy using social media to stay connected with the world throughout each day. People send millions of tweets and likes through the Internet to keep in touch with friends and family and endorse their favorite brands. Right or wrong, many personal topics are discussed in these open forums. With all of this interaction on social, can residents in Georgia be served divorce papers on social media platforms?
Serving divorce papers using social media
In a typical divorce case, one spouse files a petition for divorce in the county where either they lived with their spouse or where they currently live.
Once the petition is properly filed, an officer of the court, process server, or sheriff’s deputy will attempt to serve the divorce papers on the spouse. A strong effort must be made to serve the divorce papers.
This can be a challenge if the respondent cannot be located. The spouse may have moved to an undisclosed location or their residential address is incorrect.
When this happens, the court can authorize an alternative method for process serving. For example, they may allow a legal notice to be printed in the classified section of a local newspaper. Another alternative is sending the divorce papers securely through email.
In 2014, a New York court permitted a petitioner to have a modification of an order for child support served on a respondent through Facebook. This was after several attempts were made to locate the spouse and serve the process using traditional means.
This case may set a precedent for how divorce papers and other legal documents are served in the absence of a physical location. Many legal experts compare serving divorce papers through social media platforms to publishing a legal notice in a newspaper.
Does serving divorce papers over social media platforms violate privacy?
Two concern remains with using social media services to send important documentation – privacy and security. Posting sensitive documents like divorce papers in public social media forums may be considered harmful to one party.
However, most social media systems feature secure, private messaging services that facilitate direct communications between parties. The best way to determine whether divorce papers can be served over social media is to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney.
If you’re attempting to file for divorce and are having trouble locating your spouse, an experienced family law attorney will ensure the proper steps for filing for a divorce and serving divorce papers are followed.
Sauls Law Group provides expert legal counsel for high asset divorce and family law cases. Contact us at (770) 212-9168 for a consultation.