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Divorce can understandably be stressful from both an emotional and a financial standpoint. One of the biggest sources of financial conflict during a divorce proceeding is property division.

The division of property involves splitting assets ranging from real estate to cars and cash in a joint bank account. Here is a glimpse at what spouses who are going through divorce can expect during property division in North Carolina.

How is property division handled in North Carolina?

North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, meaning that a judge will decide what is fair when it comes to dividing the property. This might mean that 66 percent of your and your spouse’s property will go your spouse while you keep a third of the property. This is the opposite of what takes place in a community property state, where the court assumes that a married couple owns all property 50/50.

When dividing your marital property, the court will not split the property physically. Rather, the court will calculate your marital estate’s total value and then grant you and your spouse a percentage of it.

Who gets to keep the house?

The answer to this question depends on your and your future ex’s circumstances. For example, if you have a child and have done most of the child rearing, you will most likely keep the family home if you choose to do so. Meanwhile, if the other party bought the house with his or her own separate funds and you do not have children, your future ex can keep the house and legally require you to leave.

What is the easiest way of approaching property division?

If you and your future ex-spouse can find common ground, you may want to consider using an alternative to traditional divorce litigation, such as divorce mediation or informal negotiations. Through these types of processes, you and the other party can work toward a mutually satisfactory agreement, without further court involvement.

Of course, if you cannot see eye to eye on property division, a judge will end up deciding for you how to split your assets. Unfortunately, the judge’s decision may ultimately not be in alignment with either your or your future ex’s wishes. Whether addressing the division of assets in court or outside of court, you have the right to pursue the most personally favorable outcome in light of your financial situation.