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New York Judge Allows Woman to File for Divorce Via Facebook

In an era where social media seems to be the medium for all communication, it may seem like a joke, but a Manhattan Supreme Court judge has allowed a Brooklyn, N.Y. woman to divorce her husband a la Facebook!

Ms. Ellanora Biadoo had been seeking a divorce from her estranged husband, Mr. Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku, for years, but he has consistently refused to provide her an address. Baidoo and Blood-Dzraku, both from Ghana, were married in a civil ceremony in 2009. However, the relationship was never solidified as Blood-Dzraku reneged on his promise to also have a traditional Ghanaian ceremony. As a result, the wedding was never consummated and the husband and wife never lived together, Andrew Spinnell, Baidoo’s divorce attorney said.

But it doesn’t seem Blood-Dzraku wants a divorce. After the fall out over the Ghanaian ceremony, Blood-Dzraku kept in touch with his wife exclusively via phone and Facebook. When Spinnell attempted to find and contact Blood-Dzraku to notify him of the divorce proceedings filed by his client, all attempts to find him failed. “We tried everything, including hiring a private detective — and nothing,” Spinnell said. So in March, 2015, Spinnell turned to Facebook’s private messaging service as his last resort.

Of course, this is not the norm when it comes to notifying parties of divorce proceedings, so the relentless divorce attorney had to file an application asking for “service by alternate means.” New York Courts had to weigh in on the validity of serving divorce papers via Facebook. In his decision dated March 27, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper said Ellanora Biadoo could file for divorce from Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku using a private Facebook message as a last resort. He wrote:

“[P]laintiff is granted permission to serve defendant with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook. 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. This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged by the defendant. Additionally, after the initial transmittal, plaintiff and her attorney are to call and text message defendant to inform him that the summons for divorce has been sent to him via Facebook.”

Spinnell said he has contacted Blood-Dzraku twice on Facebook, but has yet to hear back. If Blood-Dzraku refuses the summons, Spinnell said the judge can move forward with a “divorce by default” for his client.

More and more courts are using digital evidence in divorce cases. If you would like more information about divorce, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced family law attorneys at Lee, Green, Stewart & Paul Attorneys at Law