In June of this year, a new reality show is set to air on televisions across the nation. “Untying the Knot” will feature a mediator who will help divorcing couples divide their marital property instead of leaving the decision up to a court.

For those dealing with divorce in Illinois, the reality of dividing up property is anything but entertaining. All too often, people make costly mistakes in this part of the divorce process that can leave them struggling with the ramifications for years.

Failure to perform an inventory on assets 

Relying on one’s spouse for information pertaining to marital assets can be another costly mistake. In order to ensure that all property has been accounted for, it is important to take time to review the following documents:

  • Tax returns – Reviewing tax returns can help to ensure that all interest-bearing accounts have been disclosed as marital assets.
  • Public records – A public records search can be done on a spouse’s name to find out if they own any property that they may not have listed.
  • Bank accounts – A thorough review of bank accounts can be telling. If car payments, utilities or mortgages have not been coming out of the home bank account, there may be a hidden account to look for.
  • Pay stubs – Old pay stubs can be a valuable source of information especially if the amounts listed as pay do not match up with the deposit amounts in the bank account. This may be another sign that additional money may be hidden in a different account. 

Many costly mistakes can be prevented by those who are willing to act with a cool head and an eye to detail. Those who take time to ensure that all marital assets have been located and reported may be rewarded with larger settlements. 

Future to consider future needs 

Failing to look at the division of marital property with reference to future needs may leave some people wishing they could go back to court again. For instance, one marriage partner may feel vindicated when they are awarded the large home, failing to take into account that they are now solely responsible for the mortgage payment. Understanding investment and retirement accounts will also ensure that people can plan for both the present and the future.


A family law attorney can help those who might be unfamiliar with division of marital property by providing information and helpful suggestions and solutions to problems. In the case of a divorce, preparation and planning will help to ensure that the division of assets is, indeed, fair.