Ellanora Baidoo, 26, can finally change her Facebook status to “single” after a landmark decision in a Manhattan courtroom Monday that allows her to serve her evasive husband via private message on Facebook.
This is the first time anyone has been able to use the ubiquitous social networking site to serve legally binding papers.
The Ghanaian nurse “is granted permission serve defendant with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook,” wrote Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper.
What’s next–small claims court via Twitter?
Baidoo’s lawyer is tasked with sending a private message to Baidoo’s husband once per week for three weeks in a row, or until acknowledged by him. The defendant in the case, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku, apparently refused to both have a traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony when the couple was married in 2009, but also has no fixed address and only communicates via Facebook and telephone. This makes it hard to find him to serve legal papers.
The marriage was never consummated, nor did the two parties ever live together. Still, Blood-Dzraku refuses to divorce, and is currently unreachable.
The “post office has no forwarding address for him, there is no billing address linked to his prepaid cell phone, and the Department of Motor Vehicles has no record of him,” says the final judgement.
This watershed ruling could lead to even more legal uses of a site like Facebook, which boasts 1.35 billion users. It’s a brave new world out there, with even fewer places to hide.