Arizona residents might be allowed in the future to serve their spouses with divorce pleadings over the Internet if they cannot contact their spouse any other way. In a recent New York family court ruling, a judge allowed a woman to serve her estranged husband a divorce summons through a message on Facebook. However, the ruling only came after the woman’s numerous and repeated attempts to contact her husband through other means had proven unsuccessful.
According to reports, the woman in New York had tried to contact her estranged husband by phone, email and a motor vehicle search. A private detective had even been hired to try to track the man down. Although the woman’s husband had refused to reveal his physical location since separating from his wife shortly after they were married, he was apparently checking his Facebook account on a regular basis.
An attorney who was not connected with the case said that the judge’s decision to allow the woman to serve divorce papers via Facebook involved unusual circumstances. While the most convenient way to contact an estranged spouse may be through Facebook, judges will most likely only allow this method of service of process in those rare cases where the party cannot otherwise be found. However, some observers believe that social networking sites will possibly be used in more family law cases in the future.
The divorce process may be much quicker for spouses who have separated but who are still in contact with each other than it is when the couple is feuding. If the spouses have been living separately for some time but have maintained amicable relations with each other, a mutual agreement regarding property division and other matters may be easier to reach. An attorney can often help a client who is in such a situation with the negotiation of a comprehensive settlement agreement.