Jennifer Safian. Divorce and Family Mediator

{4 minutes to read} In Divorce: Dealing With All the Stuff—Part 1, we discussed how people going through separation and divorce may deal with dividing up the furniture and basics in the house. In Part 2, we dealt with items of value, such as an art collection and collectibles.
In Part 3, we will talk about The Sentimentals—all those things that we keep by necessity, or just “because;” things that have no resale value but that mean so much to some of us.
The Sentimentals
In this category we can include:
o Wedding gifts: Couples frequently agree that each of them will keep what was given to them by their own family. Gifts given by friends may require some discussion. Hopefully, you can avoid spending too much time and energy over how to divide them.
o Family photographs: Photographs often include wedding albums, photos of children, family photos taken on different memorable occasions, etc. and can be very painful to deal with. Fortunately, in this age of digital photography, it has become much easier to make copies of photos so that everyone who wants a copy can have one.
o Souvenirs purchased together during travels: Reactions are very diverse on this type of “stuff,” as some people want to forget those times, and others still cherish them despite the breakup. If you both want the same objects, it may be possible to find a creative way to decide who takes what. Perhaps you can take turns choosing?
o Decorative pieces: Couples usually remember who bought what, or if they were shopping together, who wanted it more than the other. Please remember not to make this process too intense. Truly, in the end, it’s just a “decorative piece!”
o Important documents: Although they have no resale value, many of your documents are extremely important, and the division/safekeeping of them can often create conflict during divorce. Here are some examples:
 Deeds to real estate properties;
 Certificates of ownership;
 Guarantees;
 Insurance policies;
 Your children’s Social Security cards, passports and birth certificates.
Documents may be in one name, the other, or both. Each of you may be designated as the safe-keeper of one or more of the original documents, and then make copies for the other.
Another option may be to rent a safe-deposit box in a bank to which you both have access. Should you opt for this solution, you must let each other know if you remove a document, so there are no surprises.
Many of the decisions will be affected by your personalities. Some people are keepers and love to hold on to “things.” Others are more than relieved not to be encumbered. I have met people going through divorce who want nothing of their past which may bring up sad memories. Others are still attached to Salty & Peppy from a family trip.
Please remember not to give too much importance to those things, which in the long run, are just “stuff.” They may be hard to let go of at the moment, but as you move forward, you may find out that an unencumbered fresh start may be just what you need.

Jennifer Safian.
Divorce and Family Mediator
Divorce and Family Mediation
Upper East Side of Manhattan (NYC)
New York, NY
(212) 472-8626

Share →