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Poll: Divorce #1 Reason People Digitize Family Photos

photoStack - Poll: Divorce #1 Reason People Digitize Family Photos[update June 7, 2019]

Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond wrote this in the New York Times Style Section about: “I’ve Shed the Emotional Baggage of Divorce. But What About All This Stuff? When a bonfire is not an option.” Read more.

For us at ScanMyPhotos, the business of supporting people during a divorce is emotional, highly delicate and sensitive. When it comes to who keeps the family pictures, we share how you can observe civility and evenly share those memories from happier times?

The only thing inexpensive and amiable about a marital split is who gets to keep the memories pictured in photographs. The in-laws, “outlaws” and everyone in the family can easily get archived digital copies from all their photos.

All too often, we hear about friends, relatives, and celebrities calling it quits to their marriage, which evokes a very common question, who gets the family pictures?

In today’s all-digital world, the answer is as simple as a press of the button to easily share everything electronically. But, what about those decades-past analog photos, 35mm slides, and film negatives? That task is much more arduous, and often enters a caustic battle over who gets to retain the family pictures.

During the past two months, has conducted an outreach campaign asking people why they digitize pictures? The answers from 940 respondents were across the board– from the expected family reunions, anniversaries, and even memorial services. The second most popular reason why people digitize pictures is due to all the popular photo-sharing apps, like Google Photos, Instagram, and Twitter.

However, in a heavy-hearted reaction, the most common reason people digitize pictures is due to a separation, where a couple needs to divide their possessions. This is often followed by combative discussions, which occasionally end up costing thousands in legal fees. And, that is before a single picture is digitized. It is highly emotional. Reexamining pictures from yesteryear and happier times is a particularly sensitive undertaking.


Several times each day, fields inquiries from people–and their legal representative intermediaries– seeking to have their pictures digitally archived and shared after a split up. The last thing anyone wants is more unpleasantness and cause for brand-new arguments. We find ourselves as the intermediary to calmly and professionally handle these projects. While all work at ScanMyPhotos is confidential, and your privacy is our specialty, we are able to assist making, at least one vital aspect of divorce simple and affordable.

This is such a challenging issue, and we’ve seen our share of crazy stories, too.  A big opportunity for provocation for celebrities and regular folks is who gets to keep not just the house, but the decades of happier-times photo memories?

At, we have digitized more than 600 million pictures, yet the number one reason for scanning pictures turns out to be from couples divorcing.

Among the crazier narratives are what separating couples do to sneak, play tricks on each other, and attempt to score some dirt on the Ex. Some examples:

  • A woman recently places a order to digitize thousands of family photos. She sent in the photos and then her Ex contacted us to change the return address to him.  Due to very strict privacy terms of service, we always need to send a confirmation email and call the originating customer. In this case, she was livid that he wanted all their photos rerouted to him, as she was the possessor of the pictures, paid for the digitization service and did not want him to access those personal pictures. 

  • A man dropped off boxes of pictures–spanning decades for scanning.  Another person came back to pick up the order, but because the name didn’t match, we explained, that to receive the completed photo order, we are required to contact the originator of the order. In this case, that person quickly explained they were the Ex and didn’t want the former spouse to know they were there, so the order never left our corporate headquarters.

  • After both parents passed away, one sibling was assigned the task of preserving their parent’s photos. However, another relative was in a heated battle over the estate and tried to get the completed order without paying or authorization.

  • A customer placed an order for the prepaid fill-the-box service, sent in photos and used her boyfriend’s name.  The former spouse submitted a court document that the pictures were his and tried to pick it up. Due to privacy issues, the person submitting the property is the only one we can return it to.  In this case, their lawyers were then engaged, costing them loads of added billable hours to settle who got to pick up the order.

  • Just today, we explained to another couple in a heated divorce battle that we cannot change the order information after it is placed, and we would first need to contact the originator of the order to confirm it was OK to transfer the name. In this case, it was not.

  • Last week, someone called to ask how much the order cost and to email a copy of the receipt to them.  It was another separated couple, and because their name didn’t match, we contacted the originator who explained the story and why that person was seeking how much was paid, so they could add it to the settlement agreement.

Just how fast is the ScanMyPhotos professional photo digitization service? This fast:

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