Lindsay Marsh recalls being shocked and confused when she looked at the list of things her ex-husband wanted as part of their divorce. He asked for boudoir albums, intimate pictures she had taken in their marriage years earlier and given to him.
They had been married for 25 years. But after Marsh filed for divorce last April, he couldn’t wait to get rid of the albums — and didn’t understand why he wanted them.
Her ex-husband Chris Marsh said he wanted to keep the loving messages she wrote him in these bound books.
So a Davis County judge issued an unusual order that the woman said made her feel hurt: He ordered her to give the boudoir albums to the original photographer for editing and then give them to her ex-husband.
“This person must do whatever is necessary to change the pages with the pictures so that there are no photos of them [Lindsay Marsh] in lingerie or the like, or even without clothing will be covered up and taken out,” 2nd Circuit Judge Michael Edwards wrote in a ruling shared with The Salt Lake Tribune, “but the words are retained for the purpose of remembrance.”
“The judge ordered me to give nude photos … to a third party?”
The Marshes had, according to the wife, been able to negotiate the division of their remaining fortune and this was the only dispute Edwards settled.
But Lindsay Marsh said when she returned to the person who took the pictures, who was her close friend, the photographer refused to make the changes. It felt like a breach, she recalled, that her friend had told her, and it could damage her business and her legitimacy as a boudoir photographer.
So in August Edwards instead ordered the woman give the albums to a third party, a man Lindsay Marsh didn’t know who was a graphic designer. It is not clear from Edward’s handwritten order why this man was chosen to make the changes.
Upon reading the August order, Marsh panicked and called the judge’s office.
“I just want to clarify,” she recalled. “The judge ordered me not to share nude photos of my body with anyone I don’t know without my consent?”
The answer was yes.
After hearing about the judge’s order, the original photographer agreed to alter the photos, Lindsay Marsh said. Her friend photographed each side and digitally altered them by placing large black boxes over each part of the woman’s body. The inscriptions and notes remain.
“It’s even hurtful,” Lindsay Marsh said, “because these are sensual and loving things I’ve written to my husband that I love. You’re my ex-husband now.”
The woman said the digital copies were printed out on paper, stapled together and given to her ex.
Chris Marsh said in a statement to The Tribune the books are full of memoirs, inscriptions and photos – and categorized them as not “inappropriate books”. He added that some of the photos that were in the books were posted online or hung in their home during their marriage, suggesting the images weren’t as “intimate” as his ex-wife said.
“I cherish the loving memories we had all these years as part of the normal and proper exchanges between husband and wife,” he said, “and tried to preserve that by having the inscriptions.”
Chris Marsh doesn’t think the judge acted improperly, but added that this argument raises a larger societal issue in their divorce.
“As boudoir photography becomes more widely used for a couple to share intimacy,” he wondered, “where is the line of what is appropriate[ness] when they parted?”
Dealing with photos in divorce cases
Aaron Harris, a Utah divorce attorney, said a former partner typically keeps original family photos and scans or makes digital copies for their ex.
There are limitations, however, he said — if the photos are of a woman and her extended family, a husband is not expected to receive a copy unless there is good reason. The same usually applies to a photo showing a former spouse alone, he said.
“The problem with divorce cases is finding a ‘typical’ because the judge is supposed to do what is just,” he said. “And in my opinion, fair is the same as arbitrary. It’s really hard sometimes to predict what a judge thinks is fair.”
Harris said he never engaged in a divorce dispute involving intimate images in his 14 years practicing in Utah.
Lindsay Marsh said she’s not trying to attack her ex by going public with her story, but said she wanted people to know about the decisions Edwards, the judge, made in her case.
“It’s an injury and it’s incredibly embarrassing and humiliating,” she said. “The only way I can hopefully save someone else from going through the same situation is by sharing my story and exposing that these are the kinds of things that they think are okay.”
Lindsay Marsh is legally required to keep the boudoir albums until December per the judge’s order, giving Chris Marsh time to appeal the changes in court if he feels they are unfair.
She’s already made up her mind what to do with the photo albums once she’s allowed to get rid of them. She admits she has mixed feelings about the boudoir books – the photos capture a time in her life when she was proud of her body, she said, but she added that the court process involved trauma and mental anguish brought up that would have spoiled all the good memories associated with the albums.
She said she’s planning a scorching party to rid herself of those memories once and for all: “It’s going to be awesome.”
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/09/26/utah-woman-says-she-feels/ Utah woman says she feels hurt after judge ordered her to give her ex edited boudoir books