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Is serving divorce papers through social media possible?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2022 | Divorce

If you want to serve divorce papers in Texas, it is possible to deliver the documents to your estranged spouse through social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. It’s a controversial method, and certain procedures have to be followed.

Get approval from the court

You must make an effort to serve divorce papers in the traditional manner before you try to serve them online. Then, you have to convince a judge that serving papers through a social media site is the best way there is to get the serving completed. You can request permission from the court to use a “substituted service” as an alternative to an in-person service. In the past, that meant having a friend, family member, or co-worker serve the summons. The law has recently been revised to include social media sites.

Why would you do it?

Sometimes the estranged spouse is hard to find. Even if the court doesn’t allow you to serve papers through a social media site, it might allow you to use the site as a tool to ascertain where the respondent lives. A judge can grant permission to submit papers to an address that was found online. Not being able to locate your spouse doesn’t mean that you can’t be granted a divorce. It just means that it might take longer to get a divorce. At some point failure to respond to your petition will result in a default judgement in your favor. So, using social media to locate a missing partner is often beneficial in the end.

While it’s not a widely used now, the serving of summons through social media is becoming more and more popular. It certainly costs less and is easier than hiring a process server or putting a notice in the newspaper. Just be prepared to show that you have exhausted all other traditional ways to serve process.