Saying No at the Altar: Can You Recover Wedding Expenses in an Annulment?

Recover Wedding Expenses

Planning a wedding in Singapore can be a dream come true, but what happens if that dream turns sour and you end up going down the path of annulment?

Many couples wonder if they can recoup their wedding expenses, which may include costs like marriage registration fees, wedding outfits, flowers, the wedding ceremony, wedding dinner and even photography services.

Can I recover these wedding expenses?

The short answer is generally NO. You would not be able to recover these expenses. However, in some cases where the couple can agree on splitting the wedding costs, this could be dealt with privately between the couple or even detailed in a court order.

Before we get into that, what exactly is an annulment? In Singapore, an annulment is a legal process that dissolves a marriage, and the marriage is considered invalid from the outset—as if it had never taken place. There are strict criteria to be fulfilled in order to annul the marriage, and these grounds differ depending on whether the marriage is void or voidable.

When the Court declares the marriage null and void, it has the power to order the division of matrimonial assets, including matrimonial property and any gifts you received during the wedding (such as “red packet monies”).

The Court typically focuses on dividing assets and liabilities rather than the costs associated with entering the marriage.

However, as stated above, if the couple agrees, this could be included either within a consent order recorded by the Court or even dealt with privately between the couple.

In such cases, the orders would likely state that one party could recover the wedding expenses already paid from the other party or who will continue to pay for certain costs (especially if a loan was taken out for the wedding).

What about a Civil Claim?

Sometimes, if the other party is unwilling to agree to split the wedding expenses, you may think of filing a civil claim to recover the costs. Unfortunately, this isn’t a straightforward process as this is generally not considered a debt that can be recovered.

It will depend based on your claim. For example, if there is a written agreement that your ex-partner agreed to contribute a specific sum towards the wedding expenses, and they have since refused to pay, you might have grounds for a civil claim to enforce that agreement.

In conclusion, while an annulment in Singapore dissolves a marriage and divides matrimonial assets, it generally does not cover the recovery of wedding expenses like registration fees or ceremony costs.

These expenses are personal and typically not included in court orders. However, couples may privately agree to split these costs and, in some cases, formalize this agreement through the Court.

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