HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The Texas Supreme Court is working on an order that could allow the public to be served child support papers on Facebook, or even divorce papers on Twitter.
The new order allows individuals to be served court papers via social media, e-mail, or other electronic devices.
Attorney Rick Barrera says the court’s ruling brings an unsettled procedure up to modern times. Barrera says attorneys can begin petitioning the court for this option, to be used for people who can’t be served in person or by mail.
In 2019, the Texas Legislature amended a statue of the Texas Code and Civil Procedure, allowing substituted service through social media presence. The amendment was signed into law last year by Abbott.
The amended statute stated the court must adopt rules for amendment, no later than December 31 of this year, which is what the court is now doing.
Barrera says serving court papers has been a real problem for some time, and lots of time, money and resources are spent finding individuals.
Barrera adds back in the day the best way to serve someone was to put it on their hands, but now with technology and social media, people exist online, they have a presence, they live there.
“That means if you are involved in a divorce, child custody case, child support, car wreck, any type of lawsuit. If you [are] having trouble finding that person, we are bringing the procedure up to modern times,” says Barrera.
This is going to be a big help to many here in the Valley, says Barrera. He is predicting the main winner of this new law, is going to be the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Barrera believes the court’s decision contemplated that scenario.
Barrera says if a lawyer petitions a judge, it will be determined on a case by case basis at the discretion of the court. Lawyers must show they tried but were not able to find the person and that the social media or electronic account belongs to that person.
The Texas Supreme Court will be taking public comment on this issue until December 31 of this year. If you would like to submit your comments, you can submit them here.