A divorce is always difficult, but it’s compounded when one spouse is dead set on being uncooperative. People get angry and they get combative. So, what happens when one party decides the best course of action is no action, as is not responding to requests and completely disappearing? One New York judge may have just ushered in a new era of divorce proceedings.
Ellanora Baidoo and Victor Sena Blood-Dzarku were married by civil ceremony in 2009. However, Ellanora had her heart set on a traditional Ghanaian ceremony as well. Her new husband had, in fact, promised he would participate in one, but shortly after the civil ceremony things began to fall apart. Blood-Dzraku refused to participate in the Ghanaian ceremony and Baidoo refused to consummate the marriage. The two were quickly at odds and separated. They never lived together as husband and wife, although they maintained contact through phone calls and Facebook messages.
Eventually, Baidoo decided a divorce was the best option. Blood-Dzraku has no interest in getting divorced. He has no physical address and has been unresponsive to attempts to contact him. Even a private detective failed to turn up any information on his whereabouts.
That’s when Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper stepped in. On March 27, Justice Cooper ruled that Baidoo could serve Blood-Dzraku divorce papers via private Facebook message. More accurately, her attorney could serve the papers. Baidoo’s attorney may serve papers by logging into Baidoo’s Facebook account, identifying himself, and attaching an image of the official papers. The message is to be sent once a week for 3 weeks or until Blood-Dzarku responds. In addition, after each message, the attorney must text message Blood-Dzarku to inform him to check his Facebook messages for the papers.
Is this a whole new way for New York divorce lawyers to serve legal documents? Only time will tell, but for spouses dealing with difficult partners during a divorce this decision could be life-altering.