Welcome to the 21st century; where you can find love online and then serve them with divorce papers in the same manner.
For those that have not logged on, a New York judge has said that the social media site, Facebook, is an acceptable way for a Brooklyn woman to serve her husband with divorce papers. Of course, this case has a number of complications that support the judge’s decision. There however are many challenging opinions regarding this case; one opinion in particular was mentioned in my very own office when an employee asked “what is the world coming to that we use social media to facilitate a divorce?” That question sat with me for the rest of the afternoon and evening and I found myself bouncing back and forth on my opinion regarding this case. My internal debate broke down the opposing perspectives on the topic and it resulted in the ultimate question of the battle; why are people still trying to maintain the privacy of divorce when it is unachievable?
The chase of attempting to make divorce private is a fraud. You may keep specific details from people that you believe do not need to know the details. This decision however is nothing but ironic for two different reasons:
- Court records and court proceedings, in most circumstances, are open to the public. The article Divorce Records and Privacy states that “your friends, colleagues, neighbours, and the curious could learn the details of the accusations made by you and by your spouse, or partner regardless of the truth of these allegations”. This demonstrates that the illusion of keeping the process of divorce between the once was couple is in fact just that, an illusion.
- In addition, couples get married in a very public manner and usually publicly change their relationship status to “married” on Facebook once the deed is done. The happy couple receives congratulations from family, friends and acquaintances. Through their relationship, the couple will post memories of being with one another, where again, the public are able to comment on the photos. This is a popular display of love online; but what online announcements happen when this happy couple gets divorced? Before divorce is even complete, I am confident that each partner changes their Facebook relationship status back to “single” or “complicated”; this status change publicly announces your private relationship to the public. And if you do not put the details of your divorce on Facebook, they can easily research your divorce proceedings on their own.
The woman from Brooklyn who served her husband papers online therefore didn’t challenge the privacy of divorce; she merely took control of what was never private and used it to support her in the process of her divorce.
Dear readers and fellow bloggers, what are your thoughts and experiences on the privacy of divorce?