How to Serve a Massachusetts Service Member Who is Deployed – By Email

| Jul 16, 2018 | Military Divorce |

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Service of U.S. state court paperwork is similar to serving on exclusive federal land – the Army, for example, will first ascertain whether the servicemember will voluntarily accept service. If not, the requesting party is advised that he/she must comply with the requirements of the host nation or Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.

There is no Massachusetts case on point regarding alternate service when the defendant is residing in a foreign country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention. Other federal decisions are divided on the question whether email may effecutuate proper service under these circumstances. 

However, a recent Fifth Circuit decision favorably treated email service, notwithstanding a signatory’s objection to Article 10. The court in Nagravision SA v. Gotech International Technology Limited held that “court-ordered email service” under Fed. R. Civ. P 4 (f) (3) “was not effected pursuant to the Hague Convention” and that further, the Hague does not displace the court’s ability to order alternate service pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Based on this case, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court may deem service by email adequate.

Even if you could serve a deployed servicemember, the case would likely be stayed until the deployment was over anyway. 

Should you be contemplating a military divorce or paternity action, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.

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