Dad can use Facebook to serve child support papers, judge rules

Maybe this is why some teens think Facebook is for old people: a New York father just got permission to use the social network to notify his ex-wife about changes to their child support arrangement.

According to family court judge Gregory Gliedman, [company]Facebook[/company] was an acceptable form of “alternate service” since Noel Biscocho couldn’t locate his ex-wife, Anna Maria Antigua. The legal dispute turned on a request by Antigua to stop paying child support because his son had reached the age of 21.

In a court order, the judge described how Biscocho had tried all sorts of other methods to locate Antigua, including texting his children for her address and doing a “search on the Google search engine.”

But, the judge noted, even though Antigua could not be found, she was active on Facebook — and had even “Liked” photos posted by Biscocho’s current wife. As a result, the judge concluded that Biscocho could take the unprecedented step of using Facebook to serve the order, provided that he also mailed a copy to Antigua’s last known address.

The judge added that Facebook had not been used as a means of service in New York state court, but that other courts have allowed it, including in Virginia.

Under the rules of service, people can use a variety of methods to deliver a document, including delivering it in person or to their lawyer or, in some cases, by email. If those don’t work, they can apply to the court to try another method — such as, in this case, social media.

The use of Facebook by courts is not new, though it has been to slow to arrive in the U.S. Australia allowed it in 2009, and U.K. courts did the same in 2011. But in 2012, a court in Manhattan said a bank could not use Facebook to serve papers on an identity thief.

Here’s copy of the judge’s order via the New York Post and the Volokh Conspiracy:

Facebook Service

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