There are so many issues that arise during a divorce settlement that no one thinks of until it happens to them. Sometimes a spouse has disappeared, so there's no one to actually sign the papers. Other times, one party simply refuses to grant a divorce for whatever reason. The list of obstacles is endless, so one New York judge decided to do something about it. He issued a ruling that allowed a Brooklyn woman to serve her spouse divorce papers via Facebook messages.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper allowed Ellanora Baidoo to use this normally casual form of communication to serve her husband with divorce papers, because he was completely unresponsive to every other attempt she and her lawyers made.
Baidoo and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Sena Blood-Dzraku, got married in a civil ceremony back in 2009 but the marriage quickly fell apart when Blood-Dzraku refused to give his new wife the traditional Ghanaian marriage he promised her. Baidoo claims that as a result, the two never lived together and never even consummated the marriage. They only talk via phone and Facebook because Blood-Dzraku refuses to give his wife a current address, making it impossible to properly serve him divorce papers.
Baidoo's lawyers did everything they could to find him, but strangely enough his address was literally nowhere to be found. According to the ruling, "[the] post office has no forwarding address for him, there is no billing address linked to his prepaid cell phone and the Department of Motor Vehicles has no record of him." And no, he is not Jason Bourne.
So the judge decided to make a monumental ruling that has potential to change divorces forever. He declared that if Baidoo has her lawyer log into her Facebook account and serve Blood-Dzraku papers once a week for three weeks via Facebook message, the divorce will be legal and binding even if he doesn't respond. The idea seems to be if you've been given sufficient time to respond to served papers, and opt not to, you are essentially waiving your right to refuse the divorce.
So far, Baidoo's lawyers have only sent the papers once, and not surprisingly Blood-Dzraku has not responded. If the ruling stands and the divorce does go through, this could be the beginning of a legal trend. I only hope it doesn't extend to marriages. Facebook messages are cute and all, but I feel like the use of emojis would take all the romance out of it.
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