Divorce Via Facebook

Divorce papers recently served via Facebook in New York. What's next?

Posted May 08, 2015

Facebook is by far the largest social media site with over 1 billion registered accounts. In a world with 7 billion people, this means 1 in 7 people are signed up. What originally started as a way to keep up with close friends and family members is now morphing into much, much more. Socially it is used as a meeting site, dating site, cheating site, sexting site and a way to plan and announce weddings. Many online companies now allow you to sign up and log in via your Facebook profile- much easier than filling out those cumbersome sign up pages.

So what’s next? Try divorce. For the first time, a judge in New York has allowed a spouse to serve divorce papers via Facebook. Ellanora Arthur Baidoo needed a creative method to serve her soon to be ex, Victor Blood-Dzraku, because he had no fixed address, no place of employment and had said emphatically he would never make himself available to be served. However, she knew that he regularly logged into his Facebook account. With that in mind, her attorney filed an application for "service by alternate means," in this case, Facebook. The judge agreed and said social media such as Facebook and Twitter are the "next frontier" and "forums through which a summons can be delivered."

Source: insightbyseymour.com

A divorce summons traditionally must be served directly, person to person. Sometimes this is next to impossible if one party is intentionally evading the service or their location is unknown. The couple never lived together and shortly after their 2009 marriage, things quickly deteriorated. Ellanora is not asking for money or anything else -- she simply wants to move on with her life. After the Facebook summons is served, if Blood-Dzraku still doesn’t show, the divorce will be confirmed by default.
Technically this makes sense. By serving someone via a private message on Facebook, it is noted when the document was read, but that of course assumes the user's account is still in the possession of the user. With Judge Cooper's ruling, other forms of social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, could be utilized as well. It is fitting that Facebook, a site where many flirt, conspire to cheat and share inappropriate messages, is now being used as a tool to serve divorce papers.
Our lives are awash in technology. It used to be we would sit mesmerized  in front of a computer screen for hours but now the smartphone or iPad is a constant companion, allowing us to browse the Web, shop, book a reservation, check email, pay bills, chat on social media, meet new friends, find a date, even have sex all while on the go, 24/7/365. Think about it -- one day everything that can be done in real life will be done online. We are rapidly reaching the point where our online persona will be more important, more efficient and in many ways more representative of who we really are…..than who we really are.

About the Author

Dale Archer, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and the author of Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

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