Social media has become so pervasive that many people in Denver use sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on a daily basis. For some, it is even the primary way that they keep in touch with their friends and loved ones. In the very near future, it may also be an acceptable way to serve someone with divorce papers.
The serving of divorce papers is usually done in person, either at a person’s home or work address. But if someone does not have a current address for their estranged spouse or is unable to track one down, he or she may not be able to have the papers served. Because of this, some courts have been allowing the service of divorce papers through social media. As Benzinga points out, Facebook, in particular, notifies senders when messages have been opened and read and the timestamp is recorded by the server. This may particularly helpful in cases where the missing spouse has moved to another country.
According to The Huffington Post, a woman in New York was able to successfully persuade a judge to allow her to serve her husband's divorce papers via Facebook. She was unable to track him down even after hiring a private investigator and worried that he had returned to Africa. In order to do so, she had to provide the judge with evidence, including messages and pictures, proving that the account actually belonged to the correct person.
Service by social media provides for better accountability than the traditional method of publishing a legal ad in the newspaper as an alternative means of serving someone. There can be no guarantee that the person ever actually saw the ad unless they respond by filing papers with the court. Also, legal ads can be quite expensive in some areas.