In a recent case decided by the New York County Supreme Court, Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku, 2015 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 97 (New York County S.Ct. 2015), service in a divorce case through Facebook was ordered as valid service. Previously, I have blogged about service problems in divorces and service by newspaper publication and other alternative methods. To recap, most people are familiar with the concept of the in-hand delivery of court papers as it has been frequently depicted in movies and television shows throughout popular culture. Generally, courts prefer this form of delivery, as it is often the most reliable way of ensuring that the individual in question has received the papers as intended. In New York, under the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) Section 308(1) this service is enumerated, and the process server swears an affidavit that they did deliver the paper by hand. After an action has begun, the CPLR permits 120 days for the service to be made.
Unfortunately, the issue with personal service is that in order for it to be accomplished successfully, the plaintiff must have some method of locating the defendant. Even in circumstances where the location of the defendant is known, there are times when it is logistically difficult for a server to gain the proximity required for a personal delivery. Fortunately, the Domestic Relations Law offers a solution for individuals who face these circumstances, permitting plaintiffs to utilize alternative methods beneath the CPLR that does not require an “in-hand” delivery but only if the court orders alternate service is permissible. Despite this, some people still believe that the alternatives expected in these legal proceedings are not current with the modern practices of the times. Continue reading →