Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook

Talk about airing your dirty laundry in public.  Can you imagine being served via social media?  Lily Hay Newman writes that in the case noted below, the Judge has granted permission for a man to serve his ex-wife via Facebook because he has unsuccessfully exhausted all other efforts.  We can easily see this spreading to other social media sites.  

 A New York City family court ruled on Sept. 12 that a Staten Island man could use Facebook to serve his ex-wife with a legal notice about child support. According to the New York Post, Staten Island Support Magistrate Gregory Gliedman noted in his decision that it was the first such decision in New York or the United States in general (excluding situations in which the person being served was overseas).

 Noel Biscocho was allowed to serve Anna Maria Antigua through social media because he hadn’t been able to deliver the papers in any of the normal ways. Antigua moved with no forwarding address, Biscocho couldn’t find information about her whereabouts on Google, and his children didn’t respond to his messages.

 But the Post explains that Biscocho saw Antigua posting on Facebook frequently. She was liking photos posted by their mutual friends, and he said that she generally “maintains an active social media account with Facebook.” The court agreed that Biscocho had tried all of the standard approaches to serving her that he could. Gliedman, the family court official, wrote that Biscocho “does have a means by which he can contact [Antigua] … namely the existence of a social media account.”

 Perhaps the courts will evolve on social media issues now to make it simpler to get access to people. But the easiest way to avoid all of this? Don’t give someone a reason to serve you, obviously. Or if it’s too late for that, then close your Facebook account.