Social media like Facebook and Twitter can cause lots or problems when it comes to relationship, but now Facebook may actually be helping some people to end their marriages.
USING FACEBOOK FOR DIVORCE SUMMONS
Matthew Cooper, Justice in the Manhattan Supreme Court, handed down a decision on March 27, letting Ellanora Biadoo, of Brooklyn, serve his husband, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku, a divorce summons using Facebook.
Justice Cooper said the following about giving Biadoo permission to file for divorce from his husband using Facebook’s private message feature:
[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 eithis 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 his attorney are to call and text message defendant to inform him that the summons for divorce has been sent to him via Facebook.
MARRIAGE OR JUST FACEBOOK RELATIONSHIP?
It was revealed in a New York Daily News article that, Baidoo and Blood-Dzraku, from Ghana, were married in 2009 in a civil ceremony. When Blood-Dzraku backed out of his promise of having a traditional Ghanian ceremony, he and Baidoo began having marital issues.
The newspaper stated, “As a result, the wedding was never consummated and the husband and wife never lived together, the lawyer said — but Blood-Dzraku apparently still doesn’t want a divorce.”
Currently Blood-Dzraku cannot be found. Andrew Spinell, lawyer for Baidoo, says Blood-Dzraku has been keeping in touch with Baidoo using phone and Facebook exclusively. Spinell has said, “We tried everything, including hiring a private detective — and nothing.”
Last week the first message was sent to him using Facebook, but Spinnel has said, “so far he hasn’t responded.”
IS SERVING DIVORCE PAPERS USING FACEBOOK LEGAL?
While serving divorce papers using Facebook may not sound legal, considering that they can be served using publication if the spouse can’t be located, it makes sense. Also, many spouses go into hiding or flee rather than accept divorce papers. In situations such as this, it’s frequently common to publicly declare the divorce.
DIFFICULTY OF SERVING DIVORCE PAPERS
The purpose of divorce papers being served on your spouse is to let them know a petition for divorce was filed. The paperwork also tells them what terms you are seeking in the divorce, such as child support and custody, spousal support, and other things relating to the marriage. The papers also give them the detailed information they need about how they need to respond to the divorce summons.
It can be difficult sometimes to serving divorce papers. After the initial divorce summons or petition is filed with the court, they have to be served on your spouse, or soon-to-be ex. Serving the papers can be done in various ways. When serving these papers it’s important that the serving is verified. Without this verification, the divorce cannot proceed in a family law court.
If you have a divorce attorney, they most likely will handle serving the divorce papers for you. This process is a critical part of the divorce and an attorney has the means of serving the papers. If you don’t have a divorce attorney, you have to read about the various options you have of serving the divorce papers yourself.
SERVING DIVORCE PAPERS – LET ME COUNT THE WAYS!
Hise are some ways of serving divorce papers:
Acceptance of Service: Any person over 18 can deliver the divorce papers to your spouse. After your spouse have received the papers, they have to date and sign the “Acceptance of Service” paper and give it back to the person delivering the papers. This is the verification confirming that they’ve received the divorce paperwork.
First Class Mail, with acknowledgement: If the divorce petition is sent by mail, you must add the form that your spouse must sign, date, and return to you by a specific date, as specified in the divorce papers.
Certified mail, return receipt requested: With this there’s a “return receipt” verification form post card attached to the envelope containing the divorce petition which they must sign and date. Then the “return receipt” verification form post card is mailed back to you to confirm that they received the paperwork. This confirms they have been served with the divorce papers.
Personal Service by Shisiff or process server: Legally you can also hire a shisiff or professional process server who can then deliver the divorce petition to your spouse. The shisiff or process server will then fill out the proof of service form that will then be filed with the court.
By Publication: If you can’t locate your spouse you can do a divorce by publication. The court will issue an Order of Publication that allows the summons to be published. It must be published in a local paper once a week for four consecutive weeks with at least 5 days between each publication.
It appears that Facebook may now be a way to serve a divorce summons on a missing spouse by publishing the notification there.
PROOF YOUR SPOUSE IS MISSING OR HIDING
In order to get approval for a divorce by publication, you have to convince a judge that you can’t find your spouse, the Defendant. A divorce by publication occurs “only after a judge has been convinced, based on a sworn declaration, of the serving party’s inability to find the Defendant after trying hard. Service by publication is commonly used in a divorce action to serve a spouse who has disappeared without a leaving a forwarding address …”
DILIGENT HUNT FOR THE MISSING SPOUSE
In order to divorce by publication you must prove you performed a diligent and thorough search by following the steps below:
- you searched phone book and directory assistance in the area your spouse lives or was known to live;
- you have contacted friends and relatives to find the location of your missing spouse;
- you asked the post office about forwarding address information for your spouse;
- you checked tax collection and property assessor records to see if your missing spouse has property;
- you contacted the California Department of Motor Vehicles to find any auto registration for address changes;
- you contacted prior employers and landlords of your spouse;
- you checked voter registration information;
- you employed private investigators to locate your missing spouse.
In addition to the above, you must also provide an Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court stating you’ve tried all the necessary steps to find your missing spouse. You then have to file an Ex Parte (Without Notice) Application for Publication of Summons; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declaration of Petitioner in Support Thereof; and Order of Publication. After everything is approved by the court, an Order of Publication will be issued to you.
Out of all the options for serving divorces papers, having a divorce attorney do it is your best way. A divorce attorney can also give you advice as to your need to file using publication.
Even though Facebook may help when it comes to ending a marriage, many times Facebook can be the reason the relationship ended in the first place.
IS FACEBOOK A REAL REASON TO END A RELATIONSHIP?
A Boston University study on “face-booking” (logging onto Facebook then searching through your colleagues, friends, etc.) may cause some people to decide on divorce. Facebook may seem innocent enough, just logging in, checking on friends, maybe updating your status, and logging out, for just a few minutes. The Boston University study, called “Computers in Human Behavior,” concluded there is a direct relationship between Facebook and reduced satisfaction in marriage, and also highis rates of divorce.
The BU study’s author concluded, “Although it may seem surprising that a Facebook profile, a relatively small factor compared to other drivers of human behavior, could have a significant statistical relationship with divorce rates and marital satisfaction, it nonetheless seems to be the case. This relationship holds up at both the individual and state levels.”
REASONS TO BLAME FACEBOOK FOR DIVORCE
The study theorizes the reason is basically because of the time spent on Facebook instead of with a spouse, and spending time checking out what other people are doing. Another reason could also be the relationship is already in trouble, so a spouse may turn to Facebook and other social networking sites as a distraction, or maybe even as a way of looking for another mate, for the future after they get their divorce.
Divorce can be both difficult and emotional, and it can become more difficult if you’re not able to find your soon-to-be ex-spouse. A divorce attorney is invaluable to help with the various aspects of a divorce, including child and spousal support, child visitation, and the division of marital property. They can also draft the necessary papers for your divorce and help you navigate the various ins and outs of a court system to get the papers served and your divorce finalized. A divorce attorney can also advise you on the steps needed to finalize your divorce so you can begin your new single life. Then you can change your Facebook status to “single”!
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