Serving divorce papers via Facebook message

I’ve heard of Facebook being the cause of a divorce, but I’d never heard about it being the vehicle through which divorce papers were served. Until today, that is.

Various websites have reported on the case of Ellanora Baidoo, a 26-year old nurse living in Brooklyn, New York, who was given permission by a judge to serve her husband with divorce papers through a Facebook message.

In the March 27 decision, judge Matthew Cooper wrote:

As recently as ten years ago, it was considered a cutting edge development in civil practice for a court to allow the service of a summons by email. Since then, email has all but replaced ordinary mail as a means of written communication.

The past decade has also seen the advent and ascendency of social media, with websites such as Facebook and Twitter occupying a central place in the lives of so many people. Thus, it would appear that the next frontier in the developing law of the service of process over the internet is the use of social media sites as forums through which a summons can be delivered.

Ms. Baidoo was married to Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku in a civil ceremony in 2009. Both she and her husband are from Ghana. The relationship began to fall apart when Mr. Blood-Dzraku refused to have a traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony.

Andrew Spinnell, Ms. Baidoo’s lawyer, said that their wedding was never consummated and the couple never lived together. Still, Mr. Blood-Dzraku refuses to get a divorce.

Mr. Blood-Dzraku has made it extremely difficult for his wife to reach him. He hasn’t had a fixed address since 2011 and he communicates most often with his wife through phone calls or Facebook. He told Ms. Baidoo that he hasn’t had a job or a set address in years and he has not made himself available to receive divorce papers.

A private investigator was hired to try to find Mr. Blood-Dzraku but was unable to do so. Neither the post office nor the department of motor vehicles had an address for Mr. Blood-Dzraku. It’s safe to say that he really did not want to be found.

With all other options being exhausted, Ms. Baidoo’s lawyer will serve the divorce summons via Facebook message, “once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged.”

According to Spinnell, Ms. Baidoo is looking for closure and to move on with her life.

My guess, Mr. Blood-Dzraku won’t “like” the latest messages from his wife.

Photo courtesy of Maria Elena