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Hon. Mark J. Lopez (Ret.)

Hon. Mark J. Lopez (Ret.)

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

Hon. Mark J. Lopez (Ret.) joins the JAMS family law ADR team in Chicago after a 39-year legal career, including over 22 years of distinguished service in the Child Protection and Domestic Relations divisions of the Cook County Circuit Court. Judge Lopez presided over an independent, high-volume calendar both in person and over remote court call. He is accustomed to working with unrepresented litigants.

Judge Lopez served, by appointment of the Illinois General Assembly, on the Illinois Family Law Study Committee and contributed to the rewriting of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act as well as the Parentage Act (2016). This legislation marked a major step forward in streamlining dissolution proceedings and updating the determination of parentage given scientific advancements in DNA testing and in vitro fertilization, as well as the legal recognition of civil unions and same sex marriages since prior updates in the 1980s. Judge Lopez has tried and pre-tried thousands of family law cases and is a longtime proponent of mediation for family disputes.

As a judge on a domestic relations calendar for over 19 years, Judge Lopez has substantial judicial and settlement experience in all kinds of family law cases, including:

  • Abuse/neglect
  • Adjudication
  • Allocation judgments
  • Attorneys’ fees, interim fees and sanctions
  • Bad faith litigation
  • College contribution
  • Distribution of assets and allocation of debts
  • Double counting
  • Duty of both parties to mitigate damage to the marital estate
  • Enforcement proceedings
  • Enrollment of foreign judgments
  • Equitable remedies: reformation/unjust enrichment/constructive trusts
  • Fraud/material misrepresentation/appointment of receiver
  • Expert witnesses; business valuations, lifestyle, ability to parent, forensic accounting
  • Grandparent visitation
  • Imputing income
  • Maintenance and reviews of maintenance
  • Marital and nonmarital estate issues
  • Orders of protection and extensions
  • Parental responsibilities
  • Parenting time
  • Pension litigation, consent forms and the anti-diminution clause of the Illinois Constitution
  • Post-decree proceedings
  • Pre- and postnuptial agreements
  • Private/public pension issues
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (private pensions)
  • Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Orders (public pensions)
  • Reimbursement to nonmarital estate
  • Relocation of children 25 miles or more from current home
  • Reunification and termination of parental rights­­
  • Stock options and valuations
  • Support for adult disabled children
  • Surviving spouse benefits
  • Tax ramifications of divorce and the sale of marital assets
  • Temporary guardianship
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
  • Uniformed Services Spouses’ Protection Act

Representative Matters

Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Resulting From Judge Lopez’s Trial Court Orders:

  • In re Marriage of Donald B. Petitioner-Appellee, v. Roberta B., Respondent, 2014 IL 115463 (Reviewing the constitutionality of visitation statute 750 ILCS 5/607€ involving a parent convicted of a sex crime against a minor)
  • In Re Marriage of Janet Kellogg Petersen v. Kevin Petersen, 2011 IL 110984 (Addressed the distinction between a reservation and an enforcement of college contribution provision in a marital settlement agreement under 750 ILCS 5/513)
  • In re D.T. A Minor (The People of the State of Illinois, et al., Appellants, v. Brenda T., Appellee, 2003 Ill.App Lexis 347 (Set burden of proof at preponderance of credible evidence to terminate parental rights after finding of unfitness by clear and convincing standard)
  • In re D.F. et al,, Minors (The People of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Lashawn F., Appellant) 802 N.E. 2nd 800 (Ill. 2003) (Determined the proper time period for the court to consider a parent’s progress is the nine-month period following adjudication of neglect, abuse or dependency in determining fitness of a parent under 750 ILCS 50/1(D) (m) of the Adoption Act)

Illinois Appellate Court Opinions Resulting From Judge Lopez's Trial Court Orders:

  • IRMO Wojcik, 2019 Ill.App (1st) 170625 (Court properly denied a motion to dismiss a petition to extend maintenance based on the agreed to language in the marital settlement agreement)
  • IRMO Teymour and Mostafa, 2017 Ill App (1st) 161091 (Appeal of ruling to extend maintenance dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction; the appellate court addressed jurisdiction under Ill. Supreme Court Rule’s 301 and 304a and the split in district rulings)
  • IRMO Robinson and Willis, 2015 Ill App 132345 (Addressed the court’s jurisdiction under the Federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act; case of first impression in Illinois)
  • In re Marriage of Deborah L. Lyman v. Robert E. Lyman, 2015 IL App (1st) 132832 (Review of court’s granting of 735 ILCS 5/619(a)(4) dismissal of 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 motion to vacate a marital settlement agreement alleging fraud and misrepresentation)
  • Jamel Marzouki v. Olfa Najar-Marzouki, 2014 IL App (1st) 13284 (Interlocutory appeal of a court order denying a motion to dismiss petition to allocate marital estate of divorce entered in France)
  • In re Marriage of Ana L. Winter v. Jerome Winter, 2013 IL App (1st) 112836 (Public pensions; defined “surviving spouse benefit” as a matter of law)
  • In Re Marriage of SD, Petitioner-Appellant, v. N.D., Respondent-Appellee, 2012 IL App (1st) 101876 (Distinguished a petition to modify versus petition to extend maintenance under 750 ILCS 5/504 and the enforceability of an agreed to sanction clause requiring attorneys’ fees award if petition is unsuccessful)
  • In re Marriage of Tennessa S. Spircoff v. Robert M. Spircoff, 2011 IL App (1st) 103189 (Certified question brought pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308 regarding right of third party to proceed on a petition for college contribution under 750 ILCS 5/513)
  • Janis B. Reda v. Estate of Mario R. Reda, 408 Ill. App. 3rd 379 (2011) (Reaffirmed the authority of the court to impose a constructive trust to fulfill the intent of the marital settlement agreement and avoid unjust enrichment of the decedent's estate)
  • In re Marriage of Meeta Bhati v. Ajay Singh, 397 Ill. App. 3rd 53 (2009) (Reviewed factors for the court to consider on relocation petition f/k/a removal brought under 750 ILCS 5/609a of the IMDMA)
  • In re Marriage of Karen F. Eberhardt v. Stephen E. Eberhardt, 387 Ill. App. 3rd 226 (2008) (Reviewed the court's authority to use a distribution of funds received as a marital asset as income for child support; i.e., “double counting”)
  • In re the Marriage of Ana L. Winter v. Jerome Winter, (Part 1) 387 Ill. App. 3D 21 (2008) (Affirms the court's authority to enjoin a public pension fund administrator from disbursing pension benefits until a judicial determination is made)
  • In re Marriage of Deborah Thompson v. Lawrence E. Thompson, 384 Ill. App. 3d 1 (2008) (Addressed a litigant's right to an evidentiary hearing under 750 ILCS 5/506 for child representative fees)
  • In re Marriage of Cindy Manhoff v. Dean Manhoff, 377 Ill. App. 3d 671 (2007) (Illinois Supreme Court Rules supersede local rules)
  • In re Marriage of Alfred Smith v. Geneva Smith, 2006 Ill. App. Lexis 959 (Addressed Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 sanctions against an attorney)
  • In re Marriage of Virginia Horgan v. Vincent Romans, 366 Ill. App. 3D 180 (2006) (Addressed a proper statutory analysis under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act 750 ILCS 36/207)
  • In re Marriage of Anna Marie Michaelson v. Robert L. Michaelson, 359 Ill. App. 3D 706 (2005) (Addressed the non-modifiable nature of an agreement for maintenance in gross pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/504 (a))

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member, Community Memorial Foundation (private health conversion foundation dedicated to improving community health and wellness in Chicago’s western suburbs), 2015–2023
  • Board Member (2023) and Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Member, Illinois Latino Judges Association
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Judicial and Community Service Award, Illinois Latino Judges Association, 2022
  • Distinguished Judicial Service Award, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, 2022
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, Arab American Bar Association of Illinois, 2019
  • Excellence Service and Leadership Award, Northern Illinois University College of Law, 2019
  • Distinguished Service Award, Advocates Society of Lawyers, 2018
  • Aguila Award, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, 2018
  • Honorary Board Member, Filipino American Lawyers Association, 2018
  • Public Service Award, Northwest Suburban Bar Association of Illinois, 2017
  • Judicial Excellence Award, West Suburban Bar Association, 2015
  • Vanguard Award, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, 2014
  • Outstanding Service Award, Northern Illinois University College of Law, 2014

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • “It’s Never Really Just Family Law: Civil Practice and Family Law,” Illinois State Bar Association, November 17, 2022
  • “The Changing Practice of Family Law During and Post COVID,” Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, March 10, 2021
  • “The Impact Project: Success Session: Judicial Externships and Clerkships,” February 19, 2021
  • “Sex and the Law: What You Need to Know,” Chicago Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, May 20, 2020
  • “Retirement Asset Division: Pitfalls and Risks,” Illinois State Bar Association, March 9-10, 2017
  • “It’s Not Like Death or Taxes: Never-Ending Post-Decree Financial Matters: 1. College Contribution, 2. Pensions and Public QILDROs,” Judicial Education Conference, Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, 2014

Background and Education

  • Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1999–2022
    • Domestic Relations Division, 2002–2022
    • Child Protection Division, Juvenile Court, 2000–2002
    • Municipal Division, 1999–2000
  • Office of the Illinois Attorney General, 1992–1999
    • Bureau Chief, Industrial Commission Division, 1997–1999
    • Assistant Attorney General, Industrial Commission Division, 1995–1997
    • Assistant Attorney General, Director, Southwest Regional Office, 1992–1995
  • Partner, Honoratus Lopez & Associates, 1986–1992
  • Assistant State’s Attorney, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, 1984–1986
  • J.D., Northern Illinois University College of Law (DeKalb), 1983
  • B.S., Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1979
  • Comprehensive Mediation Certification, John Paul Jones Group for the Illinois Supreme Court, 2007


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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