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The Honorable Robert Balanoff has been a judge in the Child Protection Division for 18 years and the presiding judge for the past three years. He also volunteers to monitor elections in eastern Europe under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and he has done so in Ukraine, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro.
In his 18 years on the bench, Presiding Judge Balanoff has been praised for his fairness, compassion and his handling of difficult cases. He received his JD and MBA from DePaul University in 1982.
Jay Dahlin is an experienced trial attorney who has successfully handled numerous financial and custodial cases throughout northern Illinois’ domestic relations courts. On several occasions, he has received trial verdicts in favor of business owners and executives, as well as successfully securing custody for both fathers and mothers.
Dahlin also specializes in international family law litigation. He has successfully litigated cases involving multi-jurisdictional and international support and custody disputes, property division, business valuations, child recovery and removal, and enforcement issues. He has litigated and consulted on matters involving parties’ interests throughout the world and is a member of the American Society of International Law, as well as a speaker and author on issues relating to the application of international treaties to domestic relations cases.
The legal community has recognized Dahlin as an effective advocate for his clients. In 2008, the Law Bulletin Publishing Company named him one of Illinois’ “40 Under 40 Attorneys to Watch.” Since 2009, Super Lawyers has named him an Illinois Rising Star. Since 2012, he has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer.”
Dahlin earned his BA and JD degrees from the University of Illinois. He also is a graduate of the American Bar Association Trial Advocacy Institute and is on Cook County's approved list of attorneys who may represent minor children as a guardian ad litem/attorney for minor child/child representative in the Domestic Relations Division. He joined Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP in 2003, after clerking for the United States Attorney, the Illinois Attorney General and working for a large international litigation firm. Dahlin also has served as an adjunct professor of law at DePaul University and, an avid philanthropist, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.
William Gomez is an administrative hearing’s attorney with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He began his career with the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian in 1989 as a 711 law student in the Juvenile Division. He remained with the office until 1994, when he was appointed by the chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County to be a hearing officer in the Child Protection Division to assist in conducting permanency hearing for the cases. He left the position in 1996, returning to the Cook County Public Guardian as supervisory attorney in the Child Protection Division. He retired from the Office of the Public Guardian in 2018 and was hired as an administrative hearing’s attorney with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in 2020. He also served as an adjunct professor of law at DePaul University in 2006. Gomez received his BSW from Loyola University Chicago and his JD from DePaul University.
Alyease Jones is the attorney and founder of The Law Office of Alyease Jones. An experienced professional raised to understand the importance of community involvement and education, her mission is to help bridge the gap between the law and the community. She provides legal services to those in need of counsel related to domestic relationships, including family law, Department of Children and Family Services defense, and orders of protection. Her quest is to promote justice and guarantee equality to all clients while maintaining a high degree of integrity and working zealously to protect her client’s legal and constitutional rights. She earned her JD, cum laude, from Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School and her BS from Northern Illinois University.
Nicole Onorato graduated from DePaul College of Law in 2004 with a Certificate in Family Law and has since concentrated her practice exclusively on family law matters, including negotiating and litigating complex divorce and custody matters; drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements; and appellate work involving complicated child and spousal support issues, civil unions, child custody and removal (relocation) and distribution of marital assets. She also received a Certificate in Divorce Mediation from Northwestern University, and she is a frequent author and lecturer on family law subjects. She serves on the DePaul University’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Advisory Board and volunteers with the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (Ascend Justice).
Caidi Mammas Vanderporten is a partner at the boutique family law firm Mammas Goldberg Vanderporten in Chicago. Vanderporten specializes in all aspects of domestic relations law, including divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, pre and postnuptial agreements, orders of protection, child support modification and enforcement, appellate review, and Department of Children and Family Services administrative appeals/child protection issues. Prior to joining Mammas Goldberg Vanderporten, she was an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, where her practice focused on working within the Juvenile Justice and Child Support Enforcement Bureaus, as well as on the Felony Review Unit. Vanderporten graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law and did her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been selected for inclusion in the Illinois Rising Stars list (2020-2023) and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch list (2021-2024). Her firm also was selected as a Best Law Firm in Chicago for Family Law for 2023 and 2024.