We introduce a family of pairings between a bounded divergence-measure vector field and a function $u$ of bounded variation, depending on the choice of the pointwise representative of $u$. We prove that these pairings inherit from the standard one, introduced in [6,10], all the main properties and features (e.g. coarea, Leibniz and Gauss--Green formulas). We also characterize the pairings making the corresponding functionals semicontinuous with respect to the strict convergence in $BV$. We remark that the standard pairing in general does not share this property.