Facebook has become a fact of life for many people in Ohio. It is a convenient way to stay in touch with distant friends and family, share photographs and video, and communicate with people from around the world. Now, it is also a legally sufficient way to serve someone with divorce papers, at least in the mind of one family law judge.
In a case from New York, a woman has gained permission to serve her husband via Facebook messages. It appears the judge was convinced to allow this unusual request because the woman’s husband has virtually disappeared, and has no known address.
According to the New York Daily News, the couple married in 2009. They had a civil ceremony, and planned to have a traditional Ghanaian wedding ceremony later on, with their families present.
But the husband changed his mind about the second ceremony. The issue essentially ruined the marriage, which was never consummated. The spouses never lived together.
Since then, the spouses have had virtually no contact, except for occasional phone calls. However, all these years later, the husband is apparently opposed to getting divorced. He has not provided his wife an address for a residence or place of business since at least 2011. A private detective could not track down the husband either.
But he does have a Facebook account. The Daily News published a picture found on the account, in which the man is sitting in a sparsely furnished apartment, wearing a bulletproof vest.
So the judge presiding over the case granted permission to attempt service via Facebook. The wife’s attorney was told to send the papers over Facebook once a week for three weeks, or until the husband acknowledges receipt.