Service by Facebook, Publication & Alternatives

Service by Facebook

Darren M. Shapiro Esq. was admitted to practice law in New York in January 1999. Since then he has developed experience in various court rooms around Long Island and New York. As a professional litigator, trained collaborative attorney and certified mediator, Mr. Shapiro has dealt with various complex nuances throughout a number of complex cases, each with their own set of specific circumstances to consider. One factor which remains to be an often time-consuming and frustrating issue within divorce cases, is the concept of delivering papers.

In general, most courts prefer court papers to be hand-delivered to the individual in question, as this is the most reliable way to confirm that the recipient has obtained the documents. Throughout New York, delivery of service can be found in (CPLR) Section 308, which is a section on service in the Civil Practice Law and Rules. When papers are hand delivered, the server must swear in an affidavit or affirmation that the designed documents have been delivered by hand to the recipient.

Unfortunately, although the court may prefer the hand delivered process, Mr. Shapiro's experience within the realms of divorce proceedings and family law has provided him with an in-depth understanding of the lengths people will go to, in order to dodge service. In many circumstances, clients are left to ask whether they can still apply for a divorce when their spouse is avoiding service, or has no known address. In these situations, a motion can be made by an attorney such as Darren M. Shapiro that requests the court to permit service through an alternative method, whether that method is mail, publication, or other means.

If a legitimate address is found for the defendant in question, however the spouse is still bypassing attempts at service, the court may decide to order service through the process of mailing documents to the door. In some legal actions, this service can be done without a court order following numerous attempts of hand delivery have been made, however a court needs to give permission for these alternative service methods in family law matters. Mr. Darren M. Shapiro is equipped to speak to you about the different options available to you in these matters.

In order to apply for permission to supply service through publication, the lawyer in question must show a court that it was not possible to serve the spouse via another method after diligent attempts. An affirmation or affidavit that provides information on the due diligence that has been undertaken to attempt to find and appropriately serve the intended recipient will be submitted alongside any request to serve via publication. One method used to locate a person is when an attorney or process server sends an authorization to the Postal Service of the United States to complete a verification of address form. Alternative sources may be examined to check for addresses, such as family members and neighbors, though all results must be documented within the affirmation or affidavit for due diligence. Typically, Mr. Shapiro utilizes his subscriptions to databases of public records to attempt to find defendants or respondents in difficult circumstances.

In many situations, the spouse avoiding service will be found while steps are being carried out, allowing for the hand delivery of papers to take place. If the court allows service through publication, the defendant will be allowed time to respond after the publication, to avoid being in default. The concept behind service by publication is that someone the spouse knows, or the spouse themselves may see the published notice. If the defendant stays in default, then Mr. Shapiro, as the lawyer of the plaintiff, or the plaintiff themselves could ask the court to issue a judgment with the defendant in default. In certain cases, the court will grant a divorce based on a request for a one-sided trial (or inquest) to go forward, before the case is decided.

Until recently, delivering a summons via email has been considered as the latest in modern approaches to civil practices. Since that time, email has emerged as an almost complete replacement for traditional mail in regards to written communication. Though the current legislature has not defined email as a statutorily authorized method for service for initiating service, without a court order, a number of courts throughout the United States have allowed it to be used as a routine alternative. This decision to accept email as a form of reasonable communication suggests that other progressions in the field may be introduced. Today, social media is becoming an increasingly reliable way to communicate with difficult-to-find individuals.

In a recent case decided by the New York County Supreme Court, the court determined that divorce service by Facebook is indeed a reality today, which can be considered within the right circumstances. The wife was required to show that the Facebook account belonged to her husband, she was permitted to deliver divorce papers through a private message on the social media platform. Now that service through social media has been permitted in a divorce and child support case within New York, there is no reason to avoid considering it for other family law issues and child custody matters in regard to proper facts. Though service by Facebook is regarded as unconventional, courts have agreed that under certain circumstances, service through social media could be the best available option to reflect the constitutional standards of due process.

Regardless of the circumstances, Darren M. Shapiro will work alongside his client to ensure that due diligence is performed in the attempt to deliver and serve court papers to a defendant by whatever means necessary. The world today has made it increasingly easy for individuals to avoid typical social interaction, yet people are frequently resurfacing through the internet, making the web an appropriate place to seek communication. It may be that many courts begin to prefer the idea of social media service over default judgments, which are currently vacated somewhat liberally.

To learn more about the way that delivering divorce service papers is evolving, please visit our blog for more information. To discuss the concepts of divorce service by publication, social media, and other means, please feel free to reach out to us. If you are interested in accessing Mr. Shapiro's services within your divorce case, please schedule your free thirty-minute consultation at your earliest convenience. Let us know what we can do to assist you, it would be our pleasure to speak with you.

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