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Can't find your ex? Alternatives exist to serve divorce papers

Most people use Facebook to post pictures of their children at the zoo or share recently read articles with their friends, but one woman recently found a unique way of utilizing the social media site. Unable to track down her husband in order to serve him divorce papers, she took action by making an unusual request to the judge, who then approved the service of divorce papers through Facebook. Although this decision was made outside of Oregon, it could have significant implications for alternative methods of delivery in the future.

Following the deterioration of her marriage, a 26-year-old woman went through exhaustive means in an attempt to have her ex served with divorce papers. When she was unable to locate him, a permanent address or a place of employment even with the help of a private investigator, her only option left came with a sizeable price tag. According to the typical progression of serving divorce papers, she would then need to spend $1,000 on a three-week long ad in the local newspaper.

Instead, she was given permission to serve the divorce papers to her husband's Facebook page by a private message to him. Many professionals agree with the decision, citing the evolution of Facebook that led to it become a daily aspect of many people's lives. However, most caution that it should still be used as a last resort once other, more typical methods have first been exhausted.

While most people filing for a divorce in Oregon have a fairly good idea of where they will be able to serve their ex with papers, the task can be exceedingly difficult in some situations. When other typical means of service are unsuccessful, individuals can request an alternate process from the court. If the alternate means of delivery -- such as a private Facebook message -- is successful but the respondent ignores the summons, a divorce may still be granted to the filer.

Source: thinkprogress.com, "Getting Divorced In The Facebook Era", Lauren C. Williams, April 10, 2015

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