NY Permits Facebook Use for Service of Process: What this Means for SC

NY Permits Facebook Use for Service of Process: What this Means for SC

When deciding to initiate a divorce, there are a variety of crucial steps that must take place before the divorce process can begin. The first thing that needs to be done is to file your divorce papers with the Clerk of Court in the Family Court Division. When you decide to file, you must decide what type of divorce you will file for, whether it is fault-based grounds or no-fault. In a no-fault divorce, the process is a bit easier because of the fact that there are no issues or elements that you need to prove that would be required if trying to prove on a fault-based ground. Once those immediate steps have taken place, your spouse must be notified. This is done through the service of divorce papers on your spouse.

South Carolina: Methods to Serve Process

South Carolina, like many other states, has a limited number of methods by which your spouse may be served, and once service has been completed, you will need to include proof in your documents that your spouse received the service of the complaint and summons. Generally, there are only a few methods that may be used to serve process on your spouse:

  • Through U.S. certified mail with a required signed receipt by your spouse
  • Personal service
  • Service through the sheriff’s office
  • Through the use of a private process server, which involves the use of a third party hand-delivering the summons

The New York Supreme Court Case

While there are only a few methods permitted to serving process, a New York court recently ruled that a Facebook message could be a way to serve papers on an elusive spouse. This recent case involved a woman and her estranged husband of six years who was proving too elusive to find and serve divorce papers on. The husband was described as a drifter without a permanent address or fixed employment, and Facebook was her only means of contacting him. As such, the New York Supreme Court judge ruled that the woman could use Facebook as a means to serve him with divorce papers in an attempt to realign the law to match the constant changes within technology.

Limitations on the Judge’s Decision

The judge’s opinion, however, does not open the floodgates to service of summons on everyone through the use of social media. The purpose, in this case, was to provide the woman a manner in which she could contact her elusive husband to divorce him. The woman, in her testimony, demonstrated that she had done everything in her power to locate her husband, such as hiring a private investigator and publishing her summons in the ad section of the New York Daily News, once a week for three weeks, costing the woman almost $1,000.

Precedent for Unorthodox Service Methods

This isn’t the first time that a court has permitted an individual to use unorthodox methods for serving divorce papers. In past cases, there have been exceptions permitted to women married to men serving in the armed forces, where the judge, by reason of deployment, permits these women to contact their spouses through whatever means possible (generally through email) so as to initiate divorce proceedings.

The intersection of social media and the law is not new, nor is it novel. But it is important that judges evaluate the reality of social media and its entanglement not only in our lives but also with the law, and take action accordingly.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

In many courts, filing the correct forms and correctly serving process are both extremely important for initiating actions. If there are any issues that arise due to bad filings or service, this can impair your action. The experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC can help. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.