Hon. Helaine L. Berger, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems

Neutrals

Berger

Hon. Helaine L. Berger, (Ret.)

Illinois

Hon. Helaine L. Berger, (Ret.), is a senior mediator and arbitrator concentrating in family law, personal injury and commercial matters. During her 16-year legal career, she was a versatile litigator who tried cases in every division of the court as well as nationally. Judge Berger served 19 years as a judge in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Domestic Relations Division and the Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Departments. As both a neutral and former judge, she is known for her tenacity, active listening skills, compassion and courage in facilitating extremely difficult situations and volatile conversations. Judge Berger’s high settlement rate is a testament to her innate ability to quickly relate to people, even in the most difficult and emotionally charged situations. She is patient, kind and genuinely cares about the best interest of all parties — especially the children. She is committed to financial fairness and applies ingenuity and her years of experience to guide the parties to resolution.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Business Dissolution
  • Child Support
  • College Expense Allocations
  • Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibility
  • Employment
  • Estates
  • Family Law
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Poisoning
  • Maintenance
  • Non-Compete
  • Personal Injury
  • Preliminary Injunctions
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
  • Probate
  • Product Liability
  • Property Distribution
  • Removal/Relocation
  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
  • Visitation/Parenting Time

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • 19-year judicial career as judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Domestic Relations Division, 1998-2007 and 2012-2016; Child Protection Division, 2008-2011; First Municipal Department, 1997-1998•  19-year judicial career as judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Domestic Relations Division, 1998-2007 and 2012-2016; Child Protection Division, 2008-2011; First Municipal Department, 1997-1998
  • 16-year legal career, including founding partner at Berger & DePaul, 1990-1997
  • Associate at Purcell & Wardrope, 1983-1990
  • Lake County Public Defender, 1981-1983•  Lake County Public Defender, 1981-1983
  • Divorce Mediation Certificate, Northwestern University
  • Approved Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County, Domestic Relations Division

Representative Cases

  • Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibility and Removal/Relocation: request by mother for custody and relocation of child to the Netherlands subsequent to Hague proceedings and custody trials in other jurisdictions; mother in the Netherlands had previously kidnapped minor and father was alleged by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to be medically neglecting the child’s diabetes
  • Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibility and Removal/Relocation: request by mother for custody and relocation of child to the Netherlands subsequent to Hague proceedings and custody trials in other jurisdictions; mother in the Netherlands had previously kidnapped minor and father was alleged by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to be medically neglecting the child’s diabetes
  • Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibility: many cases involving conflicts over school choice, extreme differences about appropriate medical care and disparate views on the children’s adherence to religious doctrine
  • Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibility: many cases involving parenting time for soon-to-be-born children, infants and toddlers• Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibility: whether aunt should be awarded custody where mother was released from prison and became employed and desired return of minor
  • Custody/Allocation of Parenting Time: how to allocate parenting time between high-conflict parents with history of substance abuse
  •  Maintenance: extent maintenance should be paid on bonuses or distributions exceeding $250,000 cap on income for “true-ups,” and other issues including underemployment and ability to work  Maintenance: extent maintenance should be paid on bonuses or distributions exceeding $250,000 cap on income for “true-ups,” and other issues including underemployment and ability to work
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: $50 million non-marital estate; interpretation of agreement as to maintenance, stock, gifts to the marriage, substantive and/or procedural unconscionability
  • Property: treatment of $800,000 signing bonus where bonus must be repaid if employee’s employment is terminated
  • Property: many cases involving the treatment of non-divisable assets, such as country club memberships, stock in privately owned businesses and patents
  • Property: distribution of various components of executive compensation where some of the compensation is uncertain
  • Property: distribution of medical device patents that were awarded but not licensed

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Illinois Judges Association
  • Former Chair, Chicago Bar Association (CBA) committees including Civil Practice, Professional Fees and Subcommittee on Proposed Changes to Supreme Court Rules
  • Former Chair, Joint Alliance for Women and Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI) Subcommittee on Pension Law and Divorce
  • Former President, WBAI
  • Former Member, DCFS Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol Advisory Committee
  • Former Vice-Chair, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee
  • Former Member, Circuit Court of Cook County Domestic Relations Policy and Procedure Committee
  • Former Volunteer, Mayoral Principal for a Day Program
  • Former Volunteer, Girl Scouts
  • Former Volunteer, Deborah’s Place Dinner Committee
  • Illinois Judges Association, Presidential Service Award
  • Provided testimony at the state and national level regarding division of public pensions in dissolution of marriage cases

Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Division of Property and Changes to Section 503,” Illinois Supreme Court Bi-Annual Judicial Education Conference• Presenter, “Division of Property and Changes to Section 503,” Illinois Supreme Court Bi-Annual Judicial Education Conference
  • Presenter, “The Hague Convention and Other International Custody Issues,” CBA Family Law Seminar
  • Presenter, “Family Law Panel Presentation,” Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Presenter, “Complex Issues and Out-of-the-Box Solutions for the Intermediate Family Law Practitioner,” WBAI Domestic Relations Roundtable
  • Moderator, “Dealing with Addiction and Prescription Drug Use,” Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Presenter, “Cutting Edge Child Custody Symposium,” Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law Presenter, “Cutting Edge Child Custody Symposium,” Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Presenter, “A View from the Bench:  Effective and Ethical Advocacy,” Illinois State Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Drug Abuse:  Current Prevention and Treatment Options,” LEDDED, Ltd.• Presenter, “Mediation and Arbitration Strategies, Techniques and Current Law,” numerous Chicago area law firms
  • Panelist, “Parenting Plans and Shared Custody: Recent Research and Implications for Family Law Professionals,” Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)

Education

  • JD, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law
    • High honors
  • Washington University School of
    Law
  • BS, University of Illinois

Admissions

  • Illinois State Bar
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

ADR Systems was very helpful in getting our case resolved.  Their neutrals are excellent and I was very pleased with their case administration.  I would certainly choose ADR Systems again.

John White, Esq.Partner, Mulherin, Rehfeldt & Varchetto, P.C.
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