A Brooklyn woman scored a judge’s approval to legally change her relationship status to “single” via Facebook.
In a landmark ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper is allowing a nurse named Ellanora Baidoo to serve her elusive husband with divorce papers via a Facebook message.
A judge has granted a Brooklyn woman permission to serve her husband divorce papers via Facebook, but it’s unclear if the decision will set a legal precedent for others who’d prefer to divorce the digital way.
On March 27, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper granted 26-year-old Ellanora Baidoo permission to serve her husband divorce papers via a Facebook private message after attempts to contact him proved unsuccessful.
Baidoo, 26, “is granted permission serve defendant with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook,” with her lawyer messaging Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku through her account, Cooper wrote.
“This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged” by her hard-to-find hubby.
“I think it’s new law, and it’s necessary,” said Baidoo’s lawyer, Andrew Spinnell
This isn’t the first time a US judge has granted someone permission to serve legal documentation on Facebook — last year, one man was allowed to serve legal documents related to child support payments on the social network. The practice is more common outside the US, however, and some countries even permit divorce via text message.
Baidoo and Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku were married in a civil ceremony in 2009, but the relationship fell apart quickly once Blood-Dzraku reneged on his promise of a formal Ghanaian wedding, and the couple never lived together, Baidoo’s lawyer, Andrew Spinnell, told the New York Daily News. Both Baidoo and Blood-Dzraku are from Ghana, and Baidoo wanted her family to be present for a formal wedding, her lawyer says.
“She wanted their families there,” the lawyer said.
As a result, the wedding was never consummated and the husband and wife never lived together, the lawyer said — but Blood-Dzraku apparently still doesn’t want a divorce.
He kept in touch with his wife by phone and Facebook — but that was it, the ruling says.
The “last address plaintiff has for defendant is an apartment that he vacated in 2011,” Cooper said. Baidoo “has spoken with defendant by telephone on occasion and he has told her that he has no fixed address and no place of employment. He has also refused to make himself available to be served with divorce papers.”
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,” the ruling says. Baidoo v Blood-Dzraku Decision
“We tried everything, including hiring a private detective — and nothing,” Spinnell said.
The first Facebook message went out to the husband last week. “So far, he hasn’t responded,” Spinnell said.
Facebook declined to comment on the case.
While it’s unclear whether the decision involving Ellanora Baidoo could be used as precedent for other cases, the case certainly raises provocative questions. As requests for electronic legal notices continue to rise, could your next major life change soon be just an email or Facebook message away?
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