Judge: New York woman's Facebook divorce notice doesn't count

We live an ever-increasing amount of our lives online. People often communicate with business associates, friends and family without speaking to or even seeing them. More people than ever are working and conducting business of all kinds online.

However, according to a Brooklyn Supreme Court justice, you can't serve your spouse with divorce papers on Facebook. That was the recent ruling in the case of a woman who attempted to do just that.

Her attorneys argued that they had made numerous attempts to communicate with the woman's husband, who had relocated to Saudi Arabia, but got no response from him. The woman then reportedly posted a message to him on Facebook notifying him of the divorce filing.

This method of notification as a last resort isn't unprecedented. Just last year, a New York City judge ruled that a woman had the right to "serve papers," so to speak, on her husband via Facebook when she was unable to communicate with him in any other way.

The Brooklyn judge, however, saw things differently. He compared the strategy of using Facebook to serving papers to nailing them "to a building that no longer exists."

Facebook's direct message application has a feature that shows when a message you sent to someone has been read. However, there is no way of telling whether the person it was sent to saw it him- or herself.

In the vast majority of cases, attorneys are able to find a way to serve divorce papers to a hard-to-locate spouse. However, similar situations will likely come up in the future. Thus far, the law is still open to interpretation by individual courts on the matter.

Source: PC Magazine, "Judge: Divorce Notice Sent Via Facebook Is Invalid," Tom Brant, Dec. 09, 2016

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