The Brooklyn Supreme Court has ruled that a New York City woman cannot serve her husband with divorce papers via Facebook.
Manal Qaza is seeking a divorce from her husband Abdulla Ashalabi, who left her in 2011 while she was six months pregnant. She has attempted to contact her husband through family members, private investigators, and public records. Qaza believes Ashalabi was deported and is currently living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Despite her failure to contact Ashalabi by those means, she told Justice Jeffrey Sunshine that she had been in touch with her estranged husband on Facebook, and hoped to serve him with a divorce notice over the social network. (RELATED: Poland Won’t Extradite Filmmaker Roman Polanski To The U.S.)
“Granting this application for service by Facebook under the facts presented by plaintiff would be akin to the court permitting service by ‘nail and mail’ to a building that no longer exists,” Sunshine wrote.
Nail and mail summons refers to a practice, now defunct, in which individuals were served by having notices nailed to their homes by officers of the court. Sunshine also said that there was no way to verify the authenticity of the account, which was last updated in April 2014.
The judge also said the parties should be scrupulous in serving divorce papers given the wide range of rights the process implicates.
“The act for divorce has a multitude of ancillary affects on the rights and liabilities of parties,” he wrote. “The Court must be scrupulous in allowing service by a methodology most likely to give notice not only are one’s economic responsibilities and rights to pay and receive maintenance and child support but rights to property, inheritance and most importantly the Constitutional right to custody and visitation.”
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