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Decision of Interest — Family Court, Onondaga County: N.Z. v. A.G.

Family Court, Onondaga County

Alternative Service

Service by Email

N.Z. v. A.G.
May 10, 2013
Judge Hanuszczak

Background: The petitioner mother sought to modify the parties’ 2002 divorce decree from an Ohio county court. The petitioner was seeking sole custody. The mother made an application for an alternative means of service on the respondent father as he was deported from the United States and Canada and forbidden to enter the U.S. His exact whereabouts were unknown.
Prior attempts at personal service were made in a 2011 custody proceeding which was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. In 2012, the respondent father contacted the children via email. The petitioner moved for alternative service via email.

Ruling: The Family Court held that service by electronic mail was warranted. The court found that given the circumstances, personal service by personal delivery or mail was impracticable. In addition, email service upon the respondent was reasonably calculated to inform him of the proceeding because of his recent communication with his children via the email account.

Gabriel M. Nugent of Hiscock & Barclay for the petitioner