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Can You Serve Someone Legal Papers via Social Media?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to rethink what online platforms are capable of. We have taken to messaging apps, information sharing platforms, and other apps and websites for many tasks that used to exist solely on paper, including legal processes like serving documents. Many individuals turn to social media platforms to serve documents, such as divorce papers, to other parties.

Serving legal papers on social media is not unheard of, but is it permissible? Generally speaking, there is a gray area surrounding this issue. If you are trying to serve papers via social media or have had them served to you, consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn more about how this could play into your case.

Legal Requirements for Serving Documents

A process server is someone who delivers legal documents in accordance with local court rules. Each state has its own rules regarding service of process. Generally speaking, process servers are required to deliver the relevant documents to the defendant or individual listed in the papers and provide proof of service to the person who requested the service.

Many have toyed with the idea of serving legal notices via messaging apps rather than through a process server. The idea here is that these apps have the ability to notify the sender when the receiver has read the message, which arguably accomplishes the same role as a legal process server. However, it is rarely this simple in a legal case.

Is Serving Papers on Social Media Legally Binding?

While it may be possible to deliver legal documents on social media, that does not necessarily make it permissible under the law. Messaging apps have been used in the past as a way to serve those who cannot be served in person. However, there are many complications that can arise in attempting to make social media messaging legally binding.

One issue with serving papers on social media is ensuring that the intended party receives the documents. It can be difficult to verify one’s identity on social media apps, and sending papers to the wrong person could violate the privacy of everyone involved. Additionally, many social media platforms allow users to have private accounts, which can limit one’s ability to contact their intended party. There are also certain types of cases that directly call for in-person service, removing the option of social media entirely. Every case is different, which is why it is always best to work with an attorney who understands the intricacies of a case as well as the relevant local rules.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Attorney Before Serving Legal Papers via Social Media

Serving legal documents over social media may seem enticing. In a perfect scenario, this could save time and money and allow you to move forward with your case. However, there are also drawbacks to this strategy, and improperly serving documents could actually draw out the process even longer.

In any case, it is always wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney before taking any kind of legal action against another party. A skilled family law lawyer can ensure that you take the proper steps in your case and make sure your best interests are protected. Call us today to learn more.

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