Unlike: You can now serve your future ex with divorce papers on Facebook


Third one from the bottom. Bam! You’re done.

Word to the wise: don’t select “in an open relationship” without checking with your significant other first.


JANE: I served my husband with divorce papers on Facebook.

MARY: Wow. Why are you divorcing him?

JANE: He was always on Facebook.

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Thank goodness for accurate headlines on Boing Boing. A thing happened once, therefore we can all do this thing! Make way for the deluge!


Anyone more familiar with the wonderful-world-of-legal than I care to chime in?

My impression was always that legal systems are creatures of habit and tradition, so the ‘official’ methods you are supposed to use, particularly when you need to demonstrate that a party received something, and when, or are dealing with a court or government agency, or similar, are often pretty retro; but that the parts of the legal system that interact with non-specialists are also ultimately pragmatic(at least once they’ve exhausted the alternatives), and aren’t really all that new to the questions of dealing with people of no fixed address and limited desire to be contacted; so it isn’t a major surprise, or much of a shift, that a judge would rule, essentially “Yes, you’ve made a satisfactory attempt to contact the guy via the usual channels and that hasn’t worked, so you can now try the novel but potentially effective channels.”

Service by Facebook has tentatively been a thing in Australian jurisdictions since 2008 (see here for more details: http://www.cbp.com.au/Publications/Substituted-service-of-legal-documents-via-Faceboo). Injunction delivered via Twitter was approved in the UK when there was no other option (see here http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/oct/01/twitter-injunction). As far as Aussie law goes (and I would imagine law in most similar jurisdictions) service by novel methods has always been a possibility if you can convince a judge there is a) no other ‘traditional’ method possible and b) the service method will genuinely have the same chance of reaching the person in question. So yeah, this really isn’t that surprising a development; interesting, and possibly precedent, but not that surprising.


Somewhere I heard someone drop this adage: Twitter is for loving people you don’t know; Facebook is for hating people you do know. Indeed.


You can now serve the function of columnist on boingboing with cat gifs on medical marijuana. Oh wait, we can’t all do that?

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There’s nothing surprising about this. Service rules have, for decades now, allowed any method of service that is reasonably calculated to provide notice to the party. A Facebook message is as likely to provide notice as email, which has been used for alternative service for years now.

Hi, I’m a lawyer, but licensed in California, and not New York; I don’t know anything about that state’s laws.
This is a pretty common issue however, so I’ll just speak about it in a really general way.

“Service of process” is a requirement to provide notice to the opposing party of whatever you have filed with the court. Many pleadings can be filed in less rigorous ways (such as by first class mail), but usually the really important things, such as a complaint, or another first document which initiates a proceeding, has to be filed via “personal service” (meaning someone has to personally hand the document to the affected party).

This can cause huge headaches in instances where people cannot be found. In California, if you take extensive steps to find someone, but just cannot, you can apply to the court to serve a person through “substituted service”; which usually takes the form of “service by publication”, or printing notice in a newspaper.

There have been several times where I would have loved to have been able to get permission to serve someone through Facebook (or whatever). You know they are looking at it every day, and you know they are hiding from you to evade service; it can be extremely frustrating.

In any event, I think service by Facebook is fairly reasonable where a person has exhausted every other reasonable approach; I certainly think it is more likely to give actual notice of a legal proceeding to a person than publishing some ad in the back of a newspaper that no one ever reads.

Finally, there is in my opinion absolutely nothing to suggest that there would be a “deluge” of substituted service via the Facebook, although again, it might not be such a bad thing.

Happy to chat more about this if any one is interested.


I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee…then you throw dog poop on her shoes.

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It’s factually correct and not clickbait, for all your smugness here this is objectively great. My sister in law had to wait more than two years to file in absentia because of her deadbeat POS ex husband.

I’m sorry about your sister, divorce always sucks, even when it’s simple. But just because one judge rules in one case, the law is not suddenly changed everywhere - unless it’s the Supreme Court. The next case like this could well be decided the other way, and this one could be appealed - not likely, but possible. So maybe it’s a little early to make way for the deluge.

Especially if some do-it-yourself lawyer decides to just go for it and divorce their ex on Facebook. They might find that somebody on the internet gave them bad legal advice. Unusual, I know, but possible.

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It’s an option for some, and a hope that such will be granted more in the future for others. I suppose the novelty of the topic makes it “happy mutant” territory, but anything that helps give deadbeats their due is a step in the right direction.

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