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Refundable wedding photos – do they form part of the property settlement?

by | Feb 1, 2024 | Family Law

At Nevett Ford, we understand that the division of property is not only a physical separation but also an emotional one. The connection we have with our beloved properties may hold a lot of memories and sentiments.

The news report of a South African woman demanding a refund of her wedding photos because the photos became useless after her divorce to her ex-husband, certainly raised some eyebrows. However, the question remains – if this situation arose in Australia, would she be entitled to receive a refund or claim these cost under Australian property settlement laws?
In Australia, property settlements are decided based on a number of factors by the Court , they include:

• Direct or indirect financial contributions made by both parties;
• Other direct or indirect contributions made by both parties (not financial);
• Contributions made towards the family, such as household chores and caring for the children;
• Earning capacity of both parties;
• Matters relating to spousal maintenance and child support;
• Assets and Liabilities; and
• Future needs of each party.

A reasonable general advice in relation to photographs is:

1. Not destroy them; and
2. Check with the other party whether they are interested in the particular photograph/s.

Should the other party claim an interest in the photograph/s, the usual and sensible approach is to make a copy for each party to retain.
It would be unusual if a photographer had entered a contract that allowed you to get a refund if you no longer needed the photographs, so any claim arising out of the cost of the photographs would be made as part of a property division potentially. However in a family law property settlement, the focus is not on refunding you what you paid in the relationship, but dividing up assets that presently exist, and so it would be an unusual set of circumstances that might let such a claim succeed in Australia. That said, if your circumstances are unusual, you should seek legal advice.

If you are recently separated or currently engaged in property proceedings/negotiations and have any questions, please contact our experienced Family Law Team on 03 9614 7111 or email melbourne@nevettford.com.au.