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Breaking up: The guide to who gets what

Trying to figure out who gets what after a long-term relationship ends can be just as painful and frustrating as the breakup itself. We’ve put together some strategies to help you decide — amicably — how to divide up the items you’ve accumulated together.

Couple with dog


If you brought the pet into the relationship, you get to keep it; however, if you bought or adopted an animal as a couple, things get much trickier. A good first step is to consider who has more time to care for a pet. If one of you works from home or works fewer hours than the other, that person should get the dog or cat. A dog especially need lots of attention, and someone has to be home to walk it regularly. So don’t fight about who gets to keep the pet; instead, think about what’s in the best interest of the animal.

Sentimental items

Photos, souvenirs and other items that have more sentimental that monetary value can be difficult to divide. If the breakup is particularly nasty and painful, you may not want anything that reminds you of the other person. Likewise, letting go of items that hold a special place in your heart can be hard. Each person should get some time alone in the apartment to gather what means the most to him or her. In disputes, go by who purchased the item (if you can remember), or explain why you each want to keep the item in question. Spite is not a good answer. Unless you can articulate why you rather than your ex should get something, then leave it in his pile. The same goes for him.

Joint purchases

Be ready to share things you purchased together, from couches to computers to coffee tables. If you have receipts, add up the rough cost of everything you’ve purchased together over the years. Divide that in half and ensure each person gets an equal share in the joint purchases. Anything on which you can’t decide and that’s causing you to fight even more isn’t worth the extra heartache; sell it or donate it to charity.

More about breakups

What you can learn from a breakup
How to really get over your ex
3 Tips for a no-fuss breakup

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