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New York woman gets OK to serve husband with divorce on Facebook

As with most other court proceedings, filing for divorce requires you to serve your spouse with legal papers, so that he or she knows what is going on and gets the chance to prepare. Most of the time, this is no problem, because you know where your spouse is -- often, the two of you are still living under one roof.

But what if you have not seen your husband or wife in years, and have no place to deliver divorce papers where you know he or she will receive them? How can your divorce proceed?

In what might be a first in the U.S., a New York judge has given permission to a woman to serve her husband via Facebook. The woman and her attorney successfully argued that online service was the only known way to present the husband with the necessary documents.

The couple married in 2009, but never lived together after a falling out over whether to have a traditional Ghanian wedding ceremony with their families present. For years, the only way the wife has been able to reach her husband is on the phone. The husband has claimed he has no fixed address or place of employment, and refuses to make himself personally available to receive service, frustrating the wife’s efforts to end the marriage.

Citing the “advent and ascendency of social media,” the judge called Facebook and Twitter the “next frontier” of valid ways to deliver a court summons. He noted that evidence suggests the husband consistently logs into his Facebook account, so he would see the summons sent to him that way.

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