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Hon. Grace G. Dickler

Hon. Grace G. Dickler (Ret.)

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General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Family Law
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Grace G. Dickler (Ret.) joins JAMS in Chicago as a 34-year veteran of the Cook County bench. She has focused exclusively on family law issues since 1991 and served as the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division for 11 years. 

Judge Dickler presided over the 2017 restructuring of the division, consolidating parentage and dissolution of marriage cases into a single division, helping to end the differential treatment of litigants based on their marital status, advancing equity in domestic relations and removing the stigma placed on the children of unmarried parents. She also reorganized the division, adding expedited hearing judges and promoting access to justice for unrepresented litigants, including for incarcerated litigants appearing remotely. These innovations laid the groundwork for the court’s adoption of remote appearances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge Dickler is a longtime proponent of mediation in the family law context. She led Cook County to become the first county in Illinois to enact a discretionary mediation rule, allowing judges to send litigants to mediation on financial issues. Judge Dickler also expanded the court’s Hearing Officer Program, giving unrepresented litigants faster and easier avenues for addressing child support and parenting plan needs, along with opportunities for early dispute resolution. Judge Dickler is fluent in Spanish and can conduct arbitrations and mediations in this language upon request.

As a judge on a domestic relations calendar for over 30 years, Judge Dickler has substantial judicial and settlement experience in all kinds of family law cases, including:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities (custody)
  • Allocation of parenting time (visitation)
  • Distribution of assets and debts
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Valuations of businesses
  • Setting maintenance
  • Reviews of maintenance
  • Same-sex civil union and marriage dissolutions
  • College contribution
  • Marital and nonmarital estate issues
  • Allocation of family debts

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Magistrate Judge Selection Committee of the District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • Past President (2019-2022) and Member, Jewish Judges Association of Illinois
  • Member, Family Law Section Council, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois Judicial Conference
  • Co-Chair, Language Access Committee, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice
  • Chair, Circuit Court of Cook County Committee on Domestic Violence Court
  • Member of committee to review recommendation and revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) proposed by the Family Law Study Committee, 2015
  • Member and Past Board Member, Illinois Judges Association

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Champion of Justice Award, Ascend Justice
  • Samuel S. Berger Award, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (given to attorneys and judges who exemplify the highest standards of integrity, courtesy and knowledge of family law and have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to solve human problems)
  • Sage Award, Chicago Commission on Human Relations (given for leadership, mentoring and working for human rights)
  • Judge of the Year, North Suburban Bar Association
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Jewish Judges Association
  • Collaborative Law Institute’s first award for work in alternate dispute resolution
  • Honorary Fellow, Illinois Bar Foundation
  • Mary Heftel Hooton Award, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Court of Honor Award, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
  • Michael S. Cohen Award (for continuing commitment and contribution to the professional education of matrimonial lawyers)
  • Pillar of Justice Award, Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice
  • Judge of the Year, West Suburban Bar Association
  • Distinguished Judicial Service Award, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
  • Community Impact Award, Rainbows for All Children
  • Board of Governor’s Award, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Vanguard Award, Chicago Bar Association and The Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Ally Award, Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago

Background and Education

  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County (Chicago), Illinois, 1988–2022
    • Presiding Judge, Domestic Relations Division 2011–2022
    • Presiding Judge, Domestic Violence Division, 2010–2011
    • Judge, Domestic Relations Division, 1991–2010
    • Elected Circuit Judge, 12th Judicial Subcircuit, 2006
    • Appointed Associate Judge, 1988–2006
  • Immigration Judge, United States Immigration Court (Chicago), 1986–1988
  • Administrative Law Judge, Illinois Human Rights Commission, 1982–1985
  • Supervising Attorney, Travelers & Immigrants Aid Society of Chicago, 1981–1982
  • Attorney, Law Offices of Grace G. Dickler, 1979–1981
  • Reginald Herber Smith Fellow, Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation (n/k/a The Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago), 1978–79
  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 1978


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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