Facebook—the site that brings people together in realizing, day by day, that they don’t really like each other—will now see that through to its logical conclusion with the ability to serve you divorce papers. Thanks to a precedent-setting ruling last week by a Manhattan Supreme Court judge, the social media service has been deemed an allowable place to send your spouse a summons for divorce. This, of course, is in addition to the longstanding Facebook rule that says you should tell everyone else about your relationship troubles, thus accruing the Likes and comments of “He’s an asshole! I love you, foxy mama!” necessary for processing any messy break-up on the Internet. (You might also want to post a Fleetwood Mac song.)
Making that process all the more official, Justice Matthew Cooper issued the landmark ruling in the case of Brooklyn nurse Ellanora Baidoo, who wed Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku in 2009. The New York Daily News reports that their marriage went south almost immediately, due to the groom failing to live up to his promise of “a traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony.” Some time thereafter, Blood-Dzraku disappeared—possibly to the mountain of skulls where he sits in terrifying reign over the night, or maybe just to the Bronx.
No one knows for sure, because Blood-Dzraku has no fixed address, no employer, and can’t be found in phone or DMV registries. But like every other unmoored, unstable individual out there, he does have a Facebook account, which he occasionally uses—along with his prepaid cell phone—to contact his estranged wife and make it clear that, for whatever reason, he doesn’t want a divorce. After failing to locate him with a private detective, attorneys for Baidoo made the unusual request to allow them to send divorce papers to Facebook, knowing that, like all of us, he can’t seem to stop going there.
According to Cooper’s ruling, Baidoo’s lawyer must now log into Baidoo’s Facebook account and message Blood-Dzraku once a week for the next three weeks, or until he responds. In addition, they’ll call and text him to let him know that the summons is waiting for him on the site. The first message has already gone out with no response, and meanwhile, Blood-Dzraku will probably do that thing where he pretends his divorce papers ended up in the “Other” folder and, sorry dudes, he just didn’t see them. But as it does for everyone, there’s the damnable “Read” receipt just waiting to ruin him.
The ruling comes on the heels of another decree, also in New York, made last year that a man could legally use Facebook to serve his ex-wife notice that he intended to stop paying child support. (Such rulings, however, do not apply if you are Flo Rida.) And it also follows years of similar practices being accepted by in the U.K., Australia, Canada, South Africa, etc. But this seems to be the first time a Facebook message has been used to bring a definitive end to a marriage, rather than just the beginning of the end.