Continuing our series that looks at case examples, we’ve put together some information that relates to whether you’re able to claim for a child’s wedding expenses as part of a divorce.

In a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia decision, Dhaliwal v. Dhaliwal, 2017 BCSC 2083, the Court dealt with this issue:

[76]        The claimant suggests that there should be an unequal division of property in order to account for the $86,665.13 in wedding expenses she incurred for her two daughters’ nuptials. Due to a lack of resources, she was forced to take out loans to cover these expenses. There was evidence from the lenders of agreements to repay these loans once ownership of the Home was finally determined in this proceeding.
[77]        The recent decision in Nanara provides assistance in relation to this issue. In Nanara, the wife relied on her having paid for the eldest child’s wedding as one basis for reapportionment. The court held as follows:
[76]        I also find that the respondent did agree to pay for half of Daljeet’s reasonable wedding expenses but then, as he testified on the examination for discovery, “changed his mind”. His conduct in attending the temple with his daughter, her future in-laws, and the claimant after the couple’s engagement is corroborative of his acknowledging financial responsibility in that regard. In addition, the cultural basis for his obligation to pay his share of the wedding expenses was not significantly challenged by the respondent during the cross-examination of either the claimant or Daljeet. Mr. Nanara confirmed his cultural obligation to pay for his daughter’s wedding in his testimony. There is also the fact that Mr. Nanara had paid for half of his eldest daughter’s wedding expenses which is consistent with his cultural obligations as a father.

[78]      There is then the issue as to whether the $87,000 for the wedding can be considered reasonable.
[79]      In that regard, the comments I have made earlier regarding Mr. Nanara and Maninderjeet’s sense of entitlement regarding the claimant’s income earning potential and sense of obligation to take care of her family members essentially without question, also applies to Daljeet and the wedding.
[80]      During their evidence, both the claimant and Daljeet went out of their way, in my view, to emphasize how reasonable the wedding expenses were. I was quite skeptical of portions of this evidence given that, as was consistent with other portions of her evidence, Ms. Nanara appeared incapable of resisting any request from her children for money, a character trait they were quite willing to take full advantage of.
[81]      Portions of the amount claimed for the wedding-related to building a new deck and other renovations for the Vancouver property. Even if these amounts were not reasonable wedding expenses, they would still be a proper expense for preserving and maintaining the Vancouver property after separation.
[82]      When I consider all the evidence relating to the wedding expenses, I conclude that a reasonable amount for the wedding, for which Mr. Nanara is 50% responsible, is $65,000. That is, Mr. Nanara is responsible for $32,500 of the wedding expenses.

To summarise, it is possible to seek that a spouse contributes towards wedding expenses.

This area of a family law can be confusing and complex. If you’re experiencing divorce and want to know more about claiming expenses, don’t hesitate to speak to a family law firm. Dreyer Davison is highly skilled and experienced divorce lawyers and we’re happy to discuss your family law issue with you.