Service of divorce via Facebook prevents hiding behind the cyber curtain
MILWAUKEE, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In the age of technology and social media it is nearly impossible to hide. Everything is being tracked online and this is changing many industries, including the courtroom. On Aug. 28, 2015, attorney Dan Exner of Sterling Law Offices, S.C. successfully served divorce papers via Facebook.
For presumably the first time in Wisconsin family court history Facebook was used to serve notice of a divorce. Traditionally, service of notice of divorce is limited to in-person, via public official or via public notice. Now, with permission from the court and exhaustion of other channels the court may allow service of divorce via Facebook.
“This was a game changer for my client. We were working to serve his wife for 11+ weeks,” said Dan Exner, J.D., an attorney at Sterling Law Offices, S.C. “His wife was unwilling to provide an address, phone number or email address. She was only willing to sparingly communicate through Facebook Messenger and unwilling to disclose any information of her whereabouts. In lieu of this obstacle, we took another path and began to establish, without a doubt, proof his wife was on the other side of the Facebook Messenger account. This proof enabled us to get permission from the judge to serve the notice of divorce via Facebook.”
Why The Court is willing to use Social Media
Facebook is everywhere, gathering data and tracking us wherever we go. As it continues to become more integrated into our lives the data Facebook collects is being leveraged in ways we did not presume. Currently Facebook and other social media accounts are used as exhibits in the courtroom to establish credibility or to discredit testimony. Now it is clear Facebook can be used in a way to expedite service.
“We strived to be as progressive as possible when helping our clients reach their goals,” saidJeff Hughes, Principal Partner at Sterling Law Offices, S.C. “This is a shining example of our drive to help clients, no matter the obstacle.”