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Court authorizes serving of child support notice on Facebook

Texas residents may be aware of the use of social media by the legal profession to assist them in child support and divorce investigations. Sites such as Facebook can provide valuable information about the lifestyles of parents who claim to be broke, or the infidelities of married spouses, and have been used by several family law professionals. A support magistrate in another state recently made a ruling about child support that might make social media websites even more of a tool to be used for legal purposes.

The court ruled that a man could serve his former wife with a notice of intention to stop child support payments through a post on her Facebook page. The man had been paying child support of $440 per month for his son and applied to have this court order cancelled after the son turned 21. However, upon an attempt to serve the notice on his wife at her residence, he was informed that she had relocated without leaving information about her whereabouts.

Messages left for his son and daughter remained unanswered. However, while the man had no way of contacting the mother of his son, he found that she was extremely active on Facebook. The magistrate ruled that, as the man had tried all avenues of contacting his ex-wife in traditional ways, his only means of contact was her social media account. He ruled that the notice may be served on the woman's Facebook page.

Technology may still bring about many changes to traditional ways of handling such matters and may prove ever more useful to the legal profession. Texas residents who need to have child support orders modified may find up-to-date professional advice invaluable. In cases like the one described above, where a child reaches adulthood, or when there are significant changes in a parent's circumstances, custodial and non-custodial parents have the right to apply for child support modifications in a family court.

Source: New York Post, "Judge OKs serving legal papers via Facebook", Julia Marsh, Reuven Fenton and Bruce Golding, Sept. 18, 2014

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