Can I Serve My Spouse by Facebook in Florida?

Unlike at least one family law court in the United Kingdom, Florida judges don’t have the option of allowing Facebook service of initial divorce documents. Florida service is governed by statute and by court procedural rules, none of which permit or even contemplate service by Facebook.

The closest thing to Facebook service of court initial filings in Florida is the law’s provision for constructive service, i.e. service by publication when you can’t locate your spouse.  Service by publication means publishing your notice of action in a newspaper distributed in the county where the court is located and satisfying additional requirements for constructive service to be legally valid. Is this out of date with the way many people receive their news today via the internet? Absolutely, but it’s still the current law of the land until the state legislature decides to take a new look at acceptable methods of constructive service.

Constructive service/service by publication on your spouse also limits what the court can rule on in your divorce. The court can grant your divorce, but, for example, the court can’t make any decisions about child custody/timesharing, child support, alimony or about the division of your marital assets and debts. You will have to get personal service on your spouse before the divorce court will have the authority to decide those issues. Facebook service in Florida doesn’t count!

Satisfying all of the requirements of constructive service/service by publication can be complicated. Consult an experienced family law attorney to assist you in deciding whether you are able to use this form of service on your spouse and, if you use it, to ensure that you satisfy all of the requirements for constructive service. 

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