Court Says Woman Can Serve Husband Divorce Papers Through Facebook
A New York court has granted a woman the ability to serve her divorce papers “through alternate means,” which in her case means Facebook.
Ellanora Arthur Baidoo, a Brooklyn nurse, has reportedly been trying to divorce her husband for several years. However, she and her attorney have been unable to find a method of serving the divorce papers – until now.
According to documents filed recently, Baidoo said she has successfully reached her husband, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku by phone, but he informed her that he had no permanent address or place of employment. He has also not made himself available to have the divorce papers served to him – effectively refusing to divorce Baidoo, whom he never lived with.
The couple married in 2009, but their marriage quickly fell apart after Blood-Dzraku refused to take part in a Ghanaian wedding ceremony that would involve both families.
“She’s not asking for any money,” her attorney said, “She just wants to move on with her life and get a divorce.”
After exhausting every means they could both think of to serve Blood-Dzraku with divorce papers, Baidoo and her attorney finally filed for “service by alternate means,” specifically Facebook.
The judge agreed, stating the problem was due to “the post office has no forwarding address for him, there is no billing address linked to his pre-paid cellphone, and the Department of Motor Vehicles has no record of him. Inasmuch as plaintiff is unable to find defendant, personal delivery of the summons to him is an impossibility.”
In order to have the special request granted, Baidoo had to prove that the Facebook account she referenced was her husband’s account, and that he used it often enough to see the divorce papers when they were served.
“Under the circumstance presented here, service by Facebook, albeit novel and non-traditional, is the form of service that most comports with the constitutional standards of due process,” Judge Matthew Cooper wrote. “Not only is it reasonably calculated to provide defendant with notice that he is being sued for divorce, but every indication is that it will achieve what should be the goal of every method of service: actually delivering the summons to him.”
However, there are still rules for serving the divorce papers, which Judge Cooper outlined: “Specifically, because litigants are prohibited from serving other litigants, plaintiff’s attorney shall log into plaintiff’s Facebook account and message the defendant by first identifying himself, and then including either a web address of the summons or attaching an image of the summons,” he wrote.
Baidoo’s attorney said he has attempted twice to contact Blood-Dzraku by Facebook, and has yet to hear back. He added that this would be the final, most extreme step they could take to file divorce papers, and if the husband continues to refuse the summons, Baidoo’s attorney can file for “divorce by default.”
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