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Facebook Social Networks The Courts

NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook 185

New submitter Wylde Stile writes with an interesting case that shows just how pervasive social networking connections have become, including in the eyes of the law. A Staten Island, NY family court support magistrate allowed a Noel Biscoch to serve his ex-wife legal papers via Facebook. Biscoch tried to serve his ex-wife Anna Maria Antigua the old-fashioned way — in person and via postal mail — but his ex-wife had moved with no forwarding address. Antigua maintains an active Facebook account, though, and had even liked some photos on the Biscoch's present wife's Facebook page days before the ruling. The magistrate concluded that the ex-wife could be served through Facebook. If this catches on, I bet a lot of people will end up with legally binding notices caught by spam filters or in their Facebook accounts' "Other" folders.
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NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

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  • But your honor... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crafty.munchkin ( 1220528 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @04:52AM (#47957935)
    ... it went into my Other folder! No-one checks that!
    • Re:But your honor... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Wylde Stile ( 731120 ) * on Sunday September 21, 2014 @05:34AM (#47958001)
      I never even knew Facebook had mail let alone folders.
      • It does. And the annoying thing about the "Other" folder (which collects messages sent from non-friends) is that Facebook neither notifies you via email nor by the little red "new message" icon. You have to explicitly open up the Other folder to see if a non-friend might have sent you anything. Want to have a conversation with a friend of a friend (invite them to bachelor[ette] party, et al) without "friending" them? Good luck!

        And now because of this judge, everyone must check their FB Other folder re
        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @08:36AM (#47958501)

          And now because of this judge, everyone must check their FB Other folder regularly or be subject to summary judgment for failure to appear in court. (I am not a lawyer)

          No. That is not what the judge said. He said FB could be used IN THIS ONE CASE. He did not say it could be used generally. In this case, the plaintiff was able to show that his wife was not reachable by other means, and was actively using her FB account. If you have a physical address of record, and you either answer the doorbell, or open and read postal mail sent to that address, then you don't have to worry about your "other" folder on FB.

          • The judge may have said it can be used in this one case, but unless struck down by another court, it sets up a precedent for other judges to do the same.
            • Re:But your honor... (Score:4, Informative)

              by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @10:15AM (#47958861)

              The judge may have said it can be used in this one case, but unless struck down by another court, it sets up a precedent for other judges to do the same.

              In the same circumstances. If a person disappears without leaving a forwarding address, but is actively using their facebook account.

            • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @12:12PM (#47959429)

              The judge may have said it can be used in this one case, but unless struck down by another court, it sets up a precedent for other judges to do the same.

              IANAL, so I can't say for sure, but it's unlikely. The magistrate didn't rule on a matter of law, only on a matter of procedure (i.e. how to serve a notice). Judges in most cases are typically free to set procedural changes if necessary at their discretion, no precedent required. It's not a formal court decision, it's a discretionary alteration to formal procedure made necessary by the difficulty in contacting the ex-wife. And of course it's a low level judge anyways: their decisions of any kind tend to carry very little weight with other courts.

              Of course, other judges who hear about the case may decide on their own judgment to do likewise, but there is nothing legally obligating or even inclining them to do so.

              • Re:But your honor... (Score:4, Informative)

                by apraetor ( 248989 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @01:36PM (#47959871)
                You're correct. And the most important part, which everyone seems to be forgetting, is that this was an on-going case -- the woman already had been made a party to it; she knew she was supposed to keep updated contact information with the court clerk. It takes a trivial amount of effort, just a phone call in most jurisdictions, so the courts at that level can allow procedural changes like this when it's clear the party is intentionally or at least willfully failing to notify the clerk. It's not very smart, but some people do it thinking it'll prevent the case from proceeding.
              • And often child support is served by a "family" court that has a completely different set of laws than civil or criminal court. Judges in these courts have FAR more discretionary power than a normal court; primarily due to tactic's like his ex-wife and other shenanigans. So this probably has little legal bearing on other cases especially those outside this NY family court.
            • Family Court judges don't set binding precedent for any court. Stare decisis requires a court to honor the decisions of a higher court within its appeals path. If the woman decides to appeal the court's use of Facebook and takes it to the Appellate Court then THAT court's decision would be binding -- but the decision would be whether FB is a legal notification method in lieu of the "Legal Notices" in the newspaper as a last-resort when the party has failed to maintain contact info with the court in an on-go
            • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @01:42PM (#47959907)

              The judge may have said it can be used in this one case, but unless struck down by another court, it sets up a precedent for other judges to do the same.

              The precedent is already there. (Leaving aside issues of which precedent is binding v. persuasive v. nobody cares).

              Service by publication--you just put ads in generally available newspapers--is allowed in some courts when you can't reach a person, a leftover from the days when people read newspapers.

              A few years ago slashdot posted an article when a judge allowed service by *email*. The reasoning was that an email to the person was more likely to reach them than service by publication, which would have been allowed.

              When service by publication would be permissible, most savvy judges are likely to allow service by email, if it is within their discretion to allow it.

        • I may be wrong, but I vaguely recall I had to go and check my mail box this morning, it sort of doesn't jump at me on its own. There could still have been legal papers inside, though.
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C18H27NO3 ( 1282172 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @04:53AM (#47957939)
    This is just so astoundingly absurd on so many levels I'm at a loss for words.
    • Try, otherwise it's not much of a contribution to discussion.

      Why is it any more absurd than passing around pieces of mashed up tree peppered with black gunk?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because then you have a guarantee they know they have received them, even if they immediately bin them. With Facebook they could easily sit in an area unnoticed. All you know is the account received them, just because the user is commenting and liking posts in the main part of Facebook doesn't mean they ever check their messages, notifications etc.

        • No you don't. If you deliver something by mail you have no guarantee they got it, unless you use a service that requires a signature on delivery. Even then all you might have is a guarantee that *someone* signed for it, not that the person it was addressed to did. Our posties often just sign for things if it's something they can fit through the letterbox and no-one answers.

          But then in the UK you don't have to prove they got it, just that you sent it. Proof of postage doesn't cost you anything; you just

          • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

            wrong, proof of posting is not proof of service: someone has to sign for it.

            • wrong, proof of posting is not proof of service: someone has to sign for it.

              The GP was talking about procedures in the UK. What country are you talking about? The rules are going to vary.

            • No, they had already tried notifying her by both post and in person. She failed to update her contact information with the court, knowing she was involved in an on-going case. The next step would have been to place a legal notice in the local newspaper for the jurisdiction; what are the chances she'd be reading those daily? Using Facebook is far more likely to result in her seeing the notice.. and even if she ignores it the court's obligation is fulfilled and the case can proceed without her presence.
              • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

                the court is under no obligation, the obligation is on the petitioner to serve documents. Fnord: I'm speaking from the last six years of experience over a hundred cases through the courts of England and Wales. Oh, and there's also: http://www.justice.gov.uk/cour... [justice.gov.uk] Generally, though, judges are satisfied with nothing less than signatures on the N210.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by houghi ( 78078 )

            Same goes for Belgium. Proof of sending is enough and legaly binding. This is done by sending it via registerd mai, so it will cost you. Extra price is about 5 EUR. The receiver even needs to sign for it and vecause everybody in Belgium has an ID card, only the recipient will be able to sign it off. For a bit more, you can even get the proof back that the person signed for it.

            Two things: The recipient does not (want to) sign. No problem. You send it and that is all there is.
            The person does not have a forwar

            • In the USA we have multiple mail carriers, each has various levels of delivery authentication. From just a tracking number all the way to "ID and signature required", depends on how much extra you spend. We also have various courier services (depending on your location) who can ensure a clear, unbroken "chain" of handling...especially in New York. But when you move and file no forwarding address as required since she was involved in a court case...and this is actually pretty common with child support case
          • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @07:12AM (#47958187) Homepage

            Certified mail is acceptable notice for just about everything except serving subpoenas.
            It still requires an officer of the court in the U.S.
            Take into account that the judge is a fucking moron, like so many others of his kind.
            In the chain of law enforcement, there tends to be a brotherhood philosophy of "you wash my back, I'll wash yours" and " don't screw with anyone who has a lot of years on the job", standing between the people and their constitutional rights, anyway.
            If you ever step into a courtroom, never EVER expect justice and right to prevail. That stuff is only in the movies. Expect law enforcement TO SERVE themselves AND PROTECT each other.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Exactly right. In the UK, you only have to prove that you sent an item, for it to count as valid service. There is a specific law, the Interpretation Act 1987, which explains what counts as service and what does not, and on what date the service occurred if sent by post.
            More interestingly, is the fact that proof of posting outweighs proof of receipt. A friend of mine had a car insurance policy cancelled by the insurer (insurer's mistake) and the insurer served notice on my friend. This was sent by registe
            • Exactly right. In the UK, you only have to prove that you sent an item, for it to count as valid service.

              Isn't silence considered testifying against yourself there also?

            • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
              If the insurance was canceled, then wouldn't your friend notice they're no longer being charged for insurance every month? Around here, the only way insurance can "cancel" you is for non-payment. In your friend's case, if they paid insurance up-front, then they could not be canceled. Also, if they were paying monthly and the insurance company was accepting payment, then even if technically canceled, the acceptance of payment means insurance company agrees to still providing service.

              I do this with debt col
          • Like so many things in life, "it depends." Not just on the country/province/state/territory, but also on the practice of the individual court, which is determined by that courts' procedures and precedents.

            So many people try to duck service that the courts are streamlining things in self-defense. Nobody else wants clogged courts, re-re-recalling witneses, etc.

            What did this woman in is that they were able to prove that she was actively using her facebook account day-to-day. If it was an account that's be

            • Just a question out of curiosity - how were they able to prove "...she was actively using her facebook account day-to-day." I agree that yes, the account was active, but how could they prove that the ex-wife was the person using the account?

              I'd think that proving the person behind the curtain was the wizard would require rather more proof than just seeing the shoes beneath the curtain move...

              • Just a question out of curiosity - how were they able to prove "...she was actively using her facebook account day-to-day." I agree that yes, the account was active, but how could they prove that the ex-wife was the person using the account?

                I'd think that proving the person behind the curtain was the wizard would require rather more proof than just seeing the shoes beneath the curtain move...

                The whole "reasonableness" test. It's a reasonable assumption, based on all the other circumstances. Besides, this is facebook, home to people who suffer from ISD (Infinite Selfie Disorder).

          • If you deliver something by mail you have no guarantee they got it, unless you use a service that requires a signature on delivery.

            You could have a sheriff deliver the papers [legalzoom.com] for you.

          • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
            I'm in the USA and when I needed to serve someone, I had to have 3 identical copies of what I was sending. One copy stayed with the court, one copy for the sheriff and one copy for the recipient. When delivered, the sheriff would sign off stating that they verified the person and that the person received the papers, the person also had to sign in the presence of the sheriff.

            In the end, there is a paper trail covering step of the way.
      • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @07:47AM (#47958351) Homepage

        There is a substantive difference. Facebook only represents the identification of a name and not a person. Anyone can hold that name, any claim can be made about who holds that name on Facebook and at no time is positive identification of a person made.

      • Why is it any more absurd than passing around pieces of mashed up tree peppered with black gunk?

        1) Because there is no proof that said facebook account is used by the person that's name is on the account.
        2) Mashed up tree peppered with black gunk is a physical item that can be physically traced, proving that the person that needs to see it did in fact see it.

        There are a lot of subtler reasons, but they only server to make either point #1 or #2 more valid. I don't use facebook, but I did log in, create my username, set the password to some really long string of random characters that I cannot reme

    • A proven way of communicating with someone being used as a way to serve legal papers is absurd?

      Expand on that.

      • by flyneye ( 84093 )

        There's no proof that they were communicated with by merely posting to f.b.
        You might as well just tape a subpoena to their door. It is no different.
        Some people pay no attention to their facebook account for days, weeks , months.
        There IS NO PROOF, that IS the point. The post drifts off down the column never to be seen by the account owner.
        Judge bases decision on some silly model of the internet that depends on pipes and tubes or magic faeries. Typical...hmph.

        • There's no proof that they were communicated with by merely posting to f.b.
          You might as well just tape a subpoena to their door. It is no different.

          Funny you should say that. Also how is that any different from registered mail or any other method where it's guaranteed that a message was sent.
          Also the judge ruled that it was allowed due to the clearly active status of the facebook page. The timeline is irrelevant and can be compensated for. Speaking of I have a letter at home that I got on Friday which has the government insignia on the front, maybe I should open it....

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's on a computer .

        It's not "messaging"; it's not "communication"; it's cybercommunication. We need a whole new legal system with whole new cybercourts just to deal with this.

        (I refuse to use the </sarcasm> tag.)

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      Probably time for a senile/drunk/deranged magistrate to step the fuck down.
      Shit happens all the time.

  • But wait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @05:08AM (#47957959)

    If legal documents can be sent over Facebook, then shouldn't communications on Facebook be regulated under the FCC telecommunications act?

    This would include that private messages sent over Facebook may not be inspected by Facebook, and may not be used for targeted ads.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      They will claim it's fine if a computer does it instead of a human. Can you imagine the ads targeted at that? And what kind of people pick a lawyer based on banner ads the spam they get?

      • And is your telephone company allowed to run computers that listen in on your conversations?

        • Given that such things already exist [wikipedia.org] at phone companies, I would say yes.

          It's not in the same vein of "listen in to feed you ads" but it's still listening in nonetheless. The phone companies even get paid for providing such services to government agencies.

    • Why? Isn't the principle of contract law that any form of communication can be deemed legal? Who's going to regulate a face-to-face conversation? And why does any kind of communication that is deemed to be legal necessarily need to be regulated?

      For that matter how is sending someone something over facebook any less private than posting it to the wrong address, or nailing it to the door where someone used to live?

      • Why? Isn't the principle of contract law that any form of communication can be deemed legal? Who's going to regulate a face-to-face conversation? And why does any kind of communication that is deemed to be legal necessarily need to be regulated?

        IANAL but that seems like a crazy American legal principle to uphold. At the very least, any third party that handles the communication between the courts and the recipient mustn't distort or modify the message. If you serve papers through Facebook, how doe

        • And all of those problems are defensible in court, that doesn't mean they shouldn't be used as legal communication. I have seen a fax machine distort a message as well due by skipping an entire line almost undetectably save for the funny grammatical structure of the sentence, that doesn't mean it's not legal communication.

    • FCC irrelevant (Score:5, Informative)

      by stomv ( 80392 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @06:53AM (#47958153) Homepage

      Papers are often served via the US Mail. FCC has no jurisdiction. Papers are often served at "last and usual," jargon for the place where the person is believed to have resided most recently. FCC has no jurisdiction over the front door. Contrary to film noir movies, papers are only occasionally served "in hand" where the process server physically hands the documents to the person of interest. Of course, the FCC has no jurisdiction there either.

      In short, the FCC has absolutely nothing to do with this.

      Source: I am a process server.

      • Does the subject of such a false notification have any real , legal relief? In my area only a law enforcement officer acting in process can deliver a summons. I doubt that the last and usual nonsense would hold up here.
    • If legal documents can be sent over Facebook, then shouldn't communications on Facebook be regulated under the FCC telecommunications act?

      By extension, shouldn't the FCC regulate the post office, courier services like FedEx, UPS, and DHL, and print newspapers?

      Faxing summonses has been common practice for decades. The FCC might regulate the common carrier (the telco), but that doesn't automagically give them jurisdiction over the agency / means used (your individual office's fax machine or computer, your internal office network, you as the user, etc)

    • Facebook was being used in lieu of posting a public ad in the Legal Notices of the local newspaper. No privacy required, it's a last-resort option for people intentionally making service difficult. This isn't a policy decision, the ex-husband was able to show to the court that she was using Facebook daily, so the judge decided that would be a more-definitive method that the newspaper. If she uses Facebook after the message is sent then it can be "reasonably" concluded that she should have seen it -- intenti
  • ...supenoed Facebook for her current address?

    • Wait - why would Facebook have her address? I've never given that info to Facebook.

      The problem here is that an unreliable, unsecure, unverified account for a person claiming to be her is being used for official legal notice. It's even worse than E-Mail, and I'm not aware of that being a valid means to receive legal notices.

      This is all a very bad idea.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @05:44AM (#47958019)

    Facebook stopped being something you wanted to be on when your aunts and uncles started making accounts.

    Facebook stopped being something you wanted to be on when your boss/employer started checking it.

    Facebook stopped being something you wanted to be on when the government started sniffing around it for information about you.

    Facebook stopped being something you wanted to be on when judges decided it was a reasonable means to serve legal documents.

    Get off facebook... it is only down hill from here.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @06:17AM (#47958087)

      Facebook stopped being something you wanted to be on when judges decided it was a reasonable means to serve legal documents.

      Get off facebook... it is only down hill from here.

      Tell me about it. I gave up on having a phone, fax, email, and legally registered postal address a long time ago. I was using Facebook until now as the only means of my communication but now that I may actually get a legal letter through it I guess I better stop using that too.

      God forbid the courts rule you can serve someone via a Slashdot reply, if that happens I'll never be able to communicate with anyone again.

    • How to Permanently Delete a Facebook Account: 11 Steps http://www.wikihow.com/Permane... [wikihow.com]
  • I served papers on someone by email when I couldn't do it in person. This isn't particularly surprising.

    • I served papers on someone by email when I couldn't do it in person. This isn't particularly surprising.

      And? Was it challenged in court and the judge found that such a process was legally binding? If not then I guess you got away with it.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @05:56AM (#47958041) Journal

    This is, I think, the key line in TFA:

    > A Family Court official ruled that Noel Biscocho could use Facebook to serve Anna Maria Antigua because other, more traditional methods to slap her with papers have not worked.

    Historically, when the defendant absolutely cannot be reached any other way, the service of last resort was to put a classified ad in the "legal notices" section of the newspaper. In order for a judge to accept that, you had to show that you didn't know where the person lived or worked, and had no reasonable means of finding out. It seems to me that in case like this, delivery via the person's _active_ Facebook account is much better than a classified ad,and may well be the best available method of reaching the person.

  • by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @06:10AM (#47958067)

    papers can be served via electronic means, the burden of proof is on the service agent to prove service (via read receipt or screenshot showing that the document has been received by the other party - both of which technically possible on facebook).Service by post is possible, for those in doubt about that, but proof of posting is NOT proof of receipt. In that case, only a signature on a notice of service (or a recorded delivery docket) is sufficient.

  • Could a person then show up in court via Facebook? If a judge actually thinks that the persons account is really that person and only that person that is reading and responding, a appeal to a higher court with some understanding / intelligence is needed.
  • P.S.

    Timothy and other Slashdot Editors,

    I am afraid that I must post an addendum to my previous call for assistance. The difficulty of the interface appears to be more considerable than I had initially realised.

    Unfortunately, the interface does not load all comments on the page. In fact, only one comment is loaded on any given page, and the "load more comments" area / button provided, when pressed, does not in fact load anything. As such I am unable to determine whether my previous comment has been replied to, or indeed whether it has been posted at all. In short I can no longer see or read comments.

    In the hope that this message will be seen, I will periodically attempt to post messages of aid in a scattering of stories. Whether these "post in a bottle" will reach you, or float at all, is something I can only hope for at this point.

    In the meantime I shall see if the pieces of flat design driftwood can be lash togther into a makeshift civilisation of sorts. However this island appears quite desolate. The floating header follows whereever I go. Perhaps I will try to converse with it.

    In any case I remain your hopeful servant,

    A poster trapped in Beta

    • Upon loading the site just now, I found I've been moved back to the classic slashdot system. I'd like to thank the admin responsible. It's nice to be able to read posts again.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @07:53AM (#47958373)
    The gentleman in question was going to court to end the court order requiring him to pay child support payments for his now 21 year old son. It seems to me that a better solution would have been for the judge to issue an order to the provide the address for the account where the child support payments were being deposited. Followed up by an order suspending the payments if the ex-wife was not at that address until such a time as an actual address was found (the logic being that if the address the account was registered at was not at that address, then there was reason to believe that the account was actually being used by someone else). Confirmation of the correct account being found would come in the form of the court papers being served. Further the court could have ruled that the suspended child support payments would only be due if the court found in the ex-wife's favor on the petition which the man had made.
    • The gentleman in question was going to court to end the court order requiring him to pay child support payments for his now 21 year old son. It seems to me that a better solution would have been for the judge to issue an order to the provide the address for the account where the child support payments were being deposited. Followed up by an order suspending the payments if the ex-wife was not at that address until such a time as an actual address was found (the logic being that if the address the account was registered at was not at that address, then there was reason to believe that the account was actually being used by someone else). Confirmation of the correct account being found would come in the form of the court papers being served. Further the court could have ruled that the suspended child support payments would only be due if the court found in the ex-wife's favor on the petition which the man had made.

      True, but that's a lot of extra effort and drags out the process or very little gain. He had already exhausted all reasonable efforts to serve her, and given she was active on Facebook allowing her to be served in that manner was reasonable. It seems to me she was trying to avoid a subpoena so the judge needed another way to serve her with some assurances she would get the notice. The judge could then stop the payments if she failed to appear; and once she noticed she wasn't getting the money could go back

      • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @08:36AM (#47958507)
        It is not really extra effort. He stops paying until he is informed of her current address, at which point he serves her the papers. If he never receives her address, he never makes another payment and no further court action occurs. Of course, with the ruling I suggested in hand, he might also have a basis for requesting a court order to freeze the account in question, since the address on the account is not that of the registered account holder. Even if he cannot obtain a court order, he can possibly make the bank uncomfortable enough about the account that they report it to the appropriate government agency for investigation as a "suspicious account" under various anti-money laundering laws.
        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          Any father that has to support a child, no matter what the argument or no matter whether on the right or wrong size of the law, knows fully well courts are not fond of people who cuts the payments out of their own accord.
          • I did not suggest that the father cut the payment on his own accord. I suggested that the court order the payments suspended pending identification of an account belonging to the mother (based on being able to serve court papers to the mother at the address listed on the account). Of course, before doing that, the court should have ordered the bank which handled the account the payments were being made to give the address on the account to the person attempting to serve the papers.
        • It is not really extra effort. He stops paying until he is informed of her current address, at which point he serves her the papers. If he never receives her address, he never makes another payment and no further court action occurs.

          There are a few problems with that approach. First, there are already means in place to serve notice when a current address is not known; this erely move stat into the digital age. While there are problems with this approach it's no worse than requiring a notice in newspaper at the last known address; i'd argue in some ways it's better since there is at least some reason to believe the account is active and tis may see the notice. Secondly, suspending payments would not necessarily end his obligation to pay

  • Not to play.

    I do not use Facebook, aka "StealMyIdentityAndInfectMyPC.COM" and I never will.

  • Paper serving is not some super serious must be done in person thing. You usually do need to try to have a process server try to serve the papers in person. But when that fails, then it's good enough to just give it to a housemate or relative. If you can't do that, then it can be mailed. If it gets down to it, *the papers can be served just by posting a notice in the newspaper*.

    Facebook has 'the message was seen', which is more reliable than a lot of these. If it goes into your spam then it doesn't get mark

  • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @10:05PM (#47962051)
    Here in divorce-centric NY, they WILL find ways to serve papers on you. Having a GOOD lawyer who knows state law helps. The judicial system doesn't approve of evaders.

    When I filed for divorce in NY (I'll be very brief), my master manipulator STBX evaded the servers. She was an ex-deputy of the Sheriff department and learned of papers through the "old boy network". When she was at home she parked the car at an undisclosed location and no one answered the door. She was known to wear wigs for disguise and they could not find her on campus. All the places and events she was known to frequent, she could not be found.

    The judge heard testimony from the servers that they were unable to serve papers on her after six months of trying. My lawyer and the judge had never seen a case this bad. At that time, she told me to contact her through her mother. I had a GOOD lawyer and he cited NY state law that in the event that a family member has been designated a contact, then papers can be served on that family member.

    My mother-in-law never even knew we were separated and she went through the roof when she got the papers. Then the very next day her lawyer responds, and this timing of events was used in my trial before a very impressed judge.

    Without going into details, the whole episode stretched out years longer than it should had for a simple divorce case and the judge cited her intentional abuse of the legal system in his ruling to prolong the process.

    Did it end there? Nooooo.... when I found a buyer for the marital residence she refused to sign the papers, in violation of the stipulation. The same judge, with my divorce case fresh in his memory, wanted that broad in his court in two weeks. She was working at a state camp for the summer and I provided precise directions of the location of this camp for the server. Knowing her tactics, he posed as a delivery person carrying a parcel that required her signature. He delivered the parcel - and the papers. She never expected it, and probably forgot that years ago I wrote down those instructions when she called me out to that camp because her car broke down.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A cucumber is not a vegetable but a fruit.

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