I know we live in a generation of always needing to be connected to everything, all the time, from anywhere, but can we take this concept too far?
While the circumstances are somewhat unique, a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice, Matthew Cooper, has granted permission to a woman to file divorce paper on her hard-to-find husband using Facebook (News - Alert).
The story goes like this; in 2009 two people, both from Ghana, have a civil ceremony and get married with the understanding that both have promised to also have a traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony. The family wedding never took place, the nuptials were never consummated and the alleged husband and wife never actually lived together.
The wife is a nurse named Ellanora Baidoo, the husband is Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku and their only interaction after the civil ceremony took place via phone calls and Facebook postings. Apparently, Blood-Dzraku has no fixed address, no work address and no physical way of being contacted. Essentially, 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.
According to Baidoo’s lawyer, Andrew Spinnell, numerous attempts have been made to try and locate him, but even private investigators were unable to find him. Although he does keep in touch with his wife through Facebook and knows that she wants a divorce, he has not made himself available so that the papers can be served. Although there is no physical contact between the two, Blood-Dzraku apparently doesn’t want a divorce.
It is with this understanding that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper (News - Alert) said “Baidoo has permission to serve the defendant with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook.” In addition, with her lawyer the message will be re-posted once a week for three weeks in a row, or until Blood-Dzraku acknowledges it. The first Facebook message was posted last week. According to Spinnell, “So far, he hasn’t responded.”
While this may be a landmark ruling, it is actually not the first time that a U.S. judge has granted someone permission to serve legal documentation on Facebook. It seems that last year, one man was allowed to serve legal documents related to child support payments on Facebook. In fact, it appears that this practice is a lot more common outside of the U.S. Some countries even permit divorce via text message.
At one point it was considered “bad form” to breakup with someone through a text or email message. How times have changed! Baidoo’s case unquestionably raises some provocative questions. As the world continues in this direction and requests for electronic legal notices continue to rise, is it possible that your next major life change will soon be just an email or Facebook message away?