LOL! Woman to divorce ‘fleeing’ husband via Whatsapp

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela of the Pretoria High Court last week issued an order that a woman whose husband have been avoiding being served a divorce summons could be served the papers WhatsApp message as a PDF file attachment.
The court added that he even had only 20 days in which to respond to the message. If he did not, she could go ahead and obtain her divorce.
Just to make sure evasive husband was aware of what was waiting for him, the judge ruled that his order had to be published in one major newspaper in the country, this because his wife said he was a man who enjoyed reading his newspapers when they were still together.
The woman, whose name was not concealed because of the law said in papers before the court that neither her husband’s son nor his sister knew where he was. The sister said she, too, was looking for him because he owed her money. F left her in 2012, she said, and over the years promised via text messages that he was on his way to Pretoria, but he never made it.
“I could gather from the messages that he is living a nomadic life, without employment and begging for food to stay alive He left no address when he left home.”
His only response to one of her messages that she wanted to finalise their divorce was a thumbs-up icon.
The woman said she had now had enough and she wanted her divorce.
He left their home about six years ago and she had heard of him a handful of times since then. She had no idea where he was. His family said they did not know and even two tracing agents whom she hired to locate him were unable to trace him.
In desperation, she left him a WhatsApp message a few months ago on a number she was not even sure was still in use, reading “I want to divorce you”.
F, out of the blue, responded that he was on his way to Pretoria, and he would then sign his divorce papers.
Veteran divorce lawyer Selwyn Shapiro said he had received orders in the past allowing him to serve summons on a missing spouse via e-mail and even once via Facebook’s closed e-mail inbox but never via WhatsApp.

He said because a divorce could alter a person’s personal status, summons had to be served personally. But where a spouse had disappeared, provision could be made for substituted service.