Dividing Your Possessions When You Split Up*

*This is a collaborative post*

Splitting up from a long-term partner is a traumatic experience, whether you were married or not. There is no shortage of advice and legal help available for couples who are separating or divorcing, but as anyone who has been through a split will know, the practical considerations can be overwhelming. They may not be at the forefront of your mind when a relationship is ending, but a little knowledge and preparation could help you avoid some of the stress a split involves.

The Big Picture

If you share a home and your relationship ends, one of you will need to move out. If you own your home, the choices are that one partner stays and the other partner receives their share of the value of the property. If this isn’t financially viable, or neither of you wants to stay there, the house must be put up for sale. These are big issues that require legal advice, so secure the services of a good solicitor.

The Smaller Pictures

When one person leaves, they will want to take what belongs to them, and this can often lead to unpleasant conversations about who owns what. If you’re married, you own everything equally, so it’s then a case of deciding who has a particular piece of furniture, the TV, the toaster, and so on. All the books, CDs, DVDs, and pictures need sorting and a selection made of the ones you want to keep. There will probably be a good few that only one of you wants, so then you’ll be left with a collection of items you’d both want. You could bargain with each other until you each have half of what’s left, or one person could keep everything and give the other person the cash value, with which they could buy new copies. If something was bought as a gift, think of it as belonging to the person who received it. If you bought your partner a golf bag, it’s theirs, not yours just because you paid for it.

Easing The Strain

With the upheaval of moving and the emotional and financial strain of a relationship breakdown, consider whether you would be better off taking a break and getting through this difficult process one stage at a time. Instead of having to find a new home and move your whole life in one go, think about renting somewhere for six months or so and having all your possessions (apart from essentials) put in storage while you sort out permanent accommodation. Choose a reputable service such as Morespace Storage, who operate a St Neots based self-storage facility. You could also consider this option for any items you are struggling to agree on, for example, family photo albums. Putting some space and time between the split and making decisions over who gets what could mean you resolve matters more amicably.
The division of possessions can be an excruciating process if there are belongings you both feel you have a claim over. If you haven’t been together very long, and don’t have many joint purchases, it might be easier to disentangle yourself, but the longer you’ve been together, the more entwined your lives will have become. It won’t be easy, but it is a necessity, so stay calm and keep breathing, you will get through it.

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