A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice granted a Brooklyn, New York woman permission to serve her estranged husband with divorce papers through a Facebook message. The landmark ruling illustrates how powerful social media’s impact is on the way we conduct our legal matters. We may not “like” it, but it is here to stay.
In 2009, Ellanora Baidoo married her husband, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku, in a civil ceremony. The Ghanaians couple’s relationship turned sour after Blood-Dzraku broke his promise to also have a traditional Ghana wedding. Because of this, the traditional Ghana wedding was never carried out and the two never lived together. However, Blood-Dzraku showed no interest in getting a divorce.
Over the years, Baidoo attempted to locate her husband to serve him divorce papers but had no success. The only communication she has had with him was either by telephone or through Facebook. The last mailing address Baidoo had for Blood-Dzraku was for an apartment he deserted in 2011. When the two spoke over the phone, Blood-Dzraku stated that he had no permanent address and wouldn’t provide any information about his whereabouts in order to be served with divorce papers.
Baidoo’s attorney stated there was no forwarding address for Blood-Dzraku at the post office, no record of him at the Department of Motor Vehicles nor was there a billing address associated with his pre-paid cell phone. Baidoo had exhausted all methods available to track him down, including hiring a private detective.
In his ruling, Justice Cooper granted Baidoo permission to serve Blood-Dzraku with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook with her lawyer being the one doing the messaging through her account.
Cooper said, “This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged” by her elusive husband. If no response, Baidoo is permitted to file for default judgment for her divorce.
Baidoo’s attorney has sent messages, but as of today, no response.