Serving Divorce Papers by Facebook

Social media has changed the world of relationships, with apps for finding dates, text messages for flirting, and Facebook for posting photos of you and your loved one and making your relationship official in cyberspace. Well, now it seems Facebook has found another method to help end relationships, other than the sad broken heart you may see when someone updates their status to single.

A New York judge ruled last week that a Brooklyn woman could serve her husband a summons for divorce on Facebook. You may share my initial reaction of horror to that ruling. Isn’t that even worse than being broken up with via text? Aren’t these things better handled personally or in a more discreet manner?

Well, it seems Ellanora Arthur Baidoo had been trying to handle it using the traditional methods for years but wasn’t able to locate her husband. Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku had told her he had no place of employment and no fixed address. The last address she had for him was from 2011.

She had hired an investigative service, asked the post office for a forwarding address, tried to find one linked to his pre-paid cell phone, and even checked with the Department of Motor Vehicles. It had no record of him.

According to an article on, the couple married in 2009. But there was no honeymoon period for them. She had wanted a Ghanaian wedding that would include both families, but he refused. And the couple never lived together. He quickly vanished and would only communicate with her by phone, and yes, by Facebook.

Before Justice Matthew Cooper of the Manhattan Supreme Court would approve the unusual method of serving her husband divorce papers, Ellanora had to prove that the Facebook account belonged to Victor and that he checked it consistently. She also had to convince the Judge that she had exhausted every other method available to her to find him.

Convinced, the Judge ruled that she could send him a private message on Facebook. He noted that “In this age of technological enlightenment, what is for the moment unorthodox and unusual stands a good chance of sooner or later being accepted and standard, or even outdated and passé.”

The judge referred to the “advent and ascendency of social media” and sites like Facebook and Twitter as the “next frontier” as “forums through which a summons can be delivered.”

So Twitter maybe next, although you’d have to meet the challenge of serving notice in less than 140 characters.

So guess it’s just a matter of time before Facebook adds another box to its relationship status options: “just got served.”