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Can you notify your spouse about your divorce by Facebook?

In this day of no-fault divorce, the courts no longer need an "acceptable" reason, like bigamy, cruelty or habitual drinking, to let a divorce go through. It's enough to say that you simply don't want to remain married any longer. However, due process still requires that the other spouse be served adequate notice of the divorce and opportunity to respond -- even protest.

That has presented a large number of people with errant spouses a significant problem. They can't very well send their spouses any notices when those spouses have dropped off the map somehow.

If you're in this position, what can you do? Do you hire a private investigator to try to track him or her down? Do you lie in wait outside your spouse's mother's home on Thanksgiving and hope he or she shows up? Or do you just post the notice on Facebook a few times and assume that your spouse will see it?

Surprisingly, at least one court was willing to accept the third option. A Manhattan judge allowed one unhappy wife to private message the notice of the divorce to her husband, who was avoiding being served with divorce papers and only contacted her through the phone and the social media platform.

Is this really abnormal? If it is, it probably won't be in the future.

If your spouse is playing hide-and-seek from divorce papers, you have to show the court that you've tried hard to locate a usable address. When that fails, you have the option of serving your spouse with a public notice by hanging the divorce request up in the local courthouse.

It seems like allowing a notice to be served via social media to a spouse that's connected online -- but not in the real world -- is just a modern extension of due diligence in a family legal situation. It acknowledges the problematic fact that the spouse is in online contact. It also uses that same online method to serve the spouse with his or her paperwork and the divorce to proceed.

Source: Divorcemag.com, "How to Get a Divorce If You Can't Find Your Spouse," Ken Alan, accessed Feb. 07, 2018

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