Stories have hit the news recently about people being served with law suits, including divorces via facebook. Most recently you may have heard a judge in NYC decided a women can serve divorce papers over Facebook. While it sounds surprising, this is actually not all that uncommon of an occurrence in today’s society.
In Oregon, there are a few ways people can be served with papers. The most commonly used is what is called personal service, where they are handed documents directly by another human. Serving divorce papers can also be done by mail, or at someone’s office under certain conditions.
There is one method called “substitute service” that make this whole Facebook service possible. What that basically says is, if someone has tried to serve the other party through standard means, can demonstrate to the judge that normal methods have failed, then they can ask the judge to order an alternate form of service. The only real rule here is that it needs to be reasonably apprised to be able to notify the other party. For some people, if they regularly use Facebook, but have no other means to be reached reliably, then it can and does happen where a judge orders posting on the person’s Facebook page as sufficient service.
Often times though that is joined with other methods as well, for example, the judge will also order you to mail them a copy at their last known address. I suppose the moral here is if someone posts a notice of a lawsuit against you on your Facebook page, don’t ignore it assuming it’s not valid, because it just might be. The other take away is if you are desperate to serve papers to someone that is unreasonably difficult to get a hold of you may have a new avenue for serving them. It would still be important to check with your Portland family law attorney, or Washington divorce attorney if you reside in Washington to make sure it is reasonable for you to do so.