Accomplished Family Law Attorneys In Chicago


Michael Ian Bender

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Practice Areas:

  • Family Law
Lawyers of Distinction | 2019
American Institute of Trial Lawyers | Litigator of the Year | 2022

Overview And Experience

In December of 2013, Michael Ian Bender left a distinguished career as a Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois Domestic Relations Judge. He had presided over more than 40,000 family law proceedings, where he brought justice to women, men, children, and their families.

Judge Bender then re-established the Law Office of Michael Ian Bender, which has its roots dating back to 1968 when his father, Judge Gerald C. Bender, began his prolific legal practice before he also served as a Cook County Illinois Domestic Relations Law Judge.

On October 1, 2018, Judge Michael Ian Bender co-founded Caesar & Bender, LLP with renowned litigator and family law attorney, Molly E. Caesar. Michael and Molly have taken the practice to new heights while concentrating exclusively on Domestic Relations/Family Law matters including, but not limited to, prenuptial agreements, divorce, custody/parentage, visitation/parenting time, fertility/embryo litigation and agreements, child support, alimony/maintenance, and orders of protection. With a combined 40+ years of experience, Caesar & Bender, LLP, is a well-recognized staple in the legal community, helping clients navigate their domestic relations issues.

Judge Bender graduated from the University of Illinois/Chicago John Marshall Law School, where he served on the Law Review editorial board and was elected class representative to the student government. Upon earning his juris doctor degree, he went on to earn a subsequent LLM in Privacy and Technology Law. After years of successful legal practice, which included federal and state civil rights litigation as well as continuous public service, the alumni association presented him with its Distinguished Service Award. The school also honored d him by displaying him in its Hall of Distinction for both his service as a Judge and the Public Administrator of Cook County, Illinois.

Judge Bender served as a Judicial Law Clerk in the First District Illinois Appellate Court for the Honorable Justice Alan Hartman, Assistant Corporation Counsel for the Village of Skokie, Administrative Assistant at the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Founding Board Member of the North Shore Centre for the Performing Arts, Founding Executive Board Member of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center; President of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, and personal attorney to war crimes hunter and humanitarian, Simon Wiesenthal.

Judge Bender had been elected to the Skokie Park District Board of Commissioners, where he served as President and was recognized for returning the District to financial security, ensuring many years of joy and happiness to the children who benefit from its facilities and programing.

In 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Bender to the position of Full Circuit Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. While serving in the Domestic Relations Division, he presided over thousands of cases involving child abuse, custody, and support.

Judge Michael Ian Bender has devoted his life to protecting children so that they can grow into functional, independent, and healthy adults. The trauma that children suffer due to adversity between their parents can have long-lasting negative effects. This trauma is heightened at times of divorce and separation.

In his book, "Protecting Children: Bettering the World One Child at a Time," Judge Bender documents his extensive experience in minimizing trauma to the children who are experiencing family breakups so that parents, lawyers, and judges can effectively and efficiently limit and remove the trauma from the child's life. His book provides unique insight into aiding children of divorce, custody, and parentage disputes, so that they grow and mature into functional, healthy adults. In turn, these children will be able to have healthy relationships with their spouses, children, and co-workers.

Published Works

Awards & Recognition

  • Leading Lawyers, 2021 – 2023
  • Litigator of the Year, Family Law, 2020
  • Lawyer of Distinction, Family and Divorce Law, 2020
  • Best Law Firms in Illinois, 2020 – 2021
  • 10 Best Illinois Family Law Firms, 2020
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2020
  • WCGO Radio interview – Preparing for Divorce During Covid-19, 2020
  • – Featured Article - Divorce Preparation Check List, 2020
  • Ten Best Illinois Law Firms, 2019 – 2020
  • Ranked Among US News & World Report Best Law Firms, 2019 – 2023
  • Lawyer of Distinction, Family and Divorce Law, 2019
  • Chicago Tribune interview “Shout Out: Judge Michael Ian Bender, Author of Book Protecting Children”, 2019
  • WCPT Radio interview with Joan Esposito “Protecting Children in Divorce”, 2019
  • WGCO Radio interview with Bill Turk regarding “Protecting Children”, 2019
  • Chicago Tribune interview “How to Minimize the Impact of Divorce on Children”, 2019
  • 10 Best Illinois Family Law Firms, 2019
  • Fox 32 Chicago Television interview – Michael Bender Discusses Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2018
  • ABC 7 Chicago Television interview – Judge Bender Shares Holiday Tips for Divorced Parents, 2017
  • Fox 32 Chicago television interview – Judge Bender Discusses Divorce and the Holiday Season, 2017
  • WCGO Radio interview – Judge Bender Shares Back-to-School Rips for Divorced Parents, 2017
  • Fox 32 Chicago interview – Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2017
  • ABC 7 Chicago interview – Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2017
  • WGCO Radio interview – Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2017
  • 10 Best Client Satisfaction – American Institute of Legal Counsel, 2016
  • 10 Best Client Satisfaction, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2016
  • 10 Best Litigation & Dispute Division, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2016
  • The North Shore Weekend and Daily North Shore - Love & Marriage Columnist, Joanna Brown interview – “Is Peaceful Divorce an Oxymoron or a Possibility?, 2016
  • 10 Best in Client Satisfaction – American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2015
  • Leading Lawyers, 2015
  • The You Journal - “Michael Ian Bender is Someone You Should Know”, 2015
  • Chicago Daley Law Bulletin - By Lined Article “Conscious Uncoupling”, 2014
  • Attorney at Law Magazine – Cover Story, 2014

Past Positions

  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
  • Public Administrator of Cook County
  • Assistant Corporation Counsel, Village of Skokie
  • Commissioner, Skokie Park District
  • President, Skokie Park District Board of Commissioners
  • Administrative Assistant, Cook County Board of Commissioners

Professional Associations

  • Board Member, Illinois Judges Foundation