Making A Difference For Dads
Our Chicago based law firm has a demonstrated record of success on behalf of fathers in custody disputes arising in divorce and paternity cases, in related matters such as domestic violence protection orders, and in post-decree matters such as child abduction, parent relocation and modification of child support orders.
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Jeffery M. Leving
Jeffery M. Leving

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Jeffery M. Leving has been named one of "America's Best Lawyers" by Forbes Radio and selected by his peers as one of Illinois' top attorneys. He is an international leader in advocating for fathers' rights in the courtroom, among politicians and policy makers, with legislative initiatives, in his books and in his radio, television and public speaking appearances. Leving is the founder and president of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd. In Chicago, a firm concentrating in matrimonial and family law which has gained monumental victories for fathers seeking to keep their children in their lives and protect them from danger.

Leving has steadily chipped away at the presumption that when parents split up, children belong with their mother. Thanks to Leving's persistence, overcoming this notion in Illinois courts is no longer the considerable uphill battle it once was - though it is often still a challenge that Leving is always prepared to meet. Leving recently won cases for a father whose child's mother died and the mother's extended family interfered with the father's right as the child's surviving parent to raise his child; and for a father falsely accused of abusing his child.

His accomplishments include the co-authorship of the Illinois Joint Custody Law, Illinois Virtual Visitation, Right to DNA Testing Notice, and Unlawful Visitation or Parenting Time Interference Laws. He has also delivered testimony before both branches of the Illinois Legislature on joint custody, grandparents' visitation and child support accountability bills.

Leving's work has extended beyond U.S. borders. As a tireless advocate for forgotten fathers and their children, he has helped fathers abroad seeking to reunite with their children. He has won cases in which he thwarted mothers who were attempting to flee the United States with a child, where had they been successful, the father would be unlikely to see his child ever again. He has also represented fathers in abductions where the mother did in fact abscond with the child, and using strong detective work and litigation, he reunited these dads and their kids. In 1996, Mother Teresa (now St. Teresa of Calcutta) supported and thanked Leving for his work helping those entrusted to his care.

Leving received international praise for his instrumental work in helping reunite a then 6-year-old Elián González with his father in Cuba. The State Department has referred many international custody cases to him.

Leving has been honored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children "in recognition of and appreciation for outstanding commitment to the protection of children and the knowledge of the Hague International Child Abduction issues."

Leving was honored with the Professional Achievement Award from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law for outstanding achievement in the legal profession and bringing distinction to himself as well as credit to the university. Additionally, Leving received the Recognition and Commendation Award for Meritorious Service to the Public and Legal Community from the Illinois State Bar Association and the coveted Protection of the Family award from the Illinois State Crime Commission.

Leving is the author of Fathers' Rights, Divorce Wars, and How to Be a Good Divorced Dad, the latter of which garnered praise from President Barack Obama and an endorsement from Cardinal Francis E. George, then the archbishop of Chicago, who said, "This is a pain-filled book that offers good advice about how to preserve a family born of a marriage that has failed. It's a book that is, unfortunately, more and more needed." He has contributed further to the field by lecturing locally and nationally on family law issues.

Leving served on President Obama's National Finance Committee, and met with the President many times to discuss critical legal and social issues facing the nation. He was chosen by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to provide expert input in the first Town Hall Meeting on Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families in Chicago.

Leving serves as the governor-appointed chairman of the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood, a state board dedicated to promoting the positive involvement of fathers in the upbringing of their children. As chairman, he convenes an annual symposium on fatherhood issues.

The Illinois House of Representatives honored Leving by adopting Resolution No. 995 which reads, "for his work in safeguarding the rights of fathers and protecting the welfare of children and families in this State" and for his "hard work, integrity, and dedication for the people of the State of Illinois." The Illinois House of Representatives resolved that Leving be presented with a copy of this Resolution "as a symbol of our esteem and respect."

Leving received his Juris Doctor from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1979. He was awarded his Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television from Southern Illinois University in 1974.

Leving is licensed to practice law in Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of several professional associations including the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, the Lake County Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, the McHenry County Bar Association, the Kane County Bar Association, the LaSalle County Bar Association, and the Decalogue Society of Lawyers.

Concentration of practice

  • Family Law
  • Matrimonial Law

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1979
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1980
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2001
  • U.S. Federal Courts, 1979
  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois Trial Bar, 1983

Education

  • Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
    • Juris Doctor - 1979
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
    • B.S. - 1974

Honors and Awards

  • Honored by the Illinois House of Representatives “for his work in safeguarding the rights of fathers and protecting the welfare of children and families in this State” and for his “hard work, integrity, and dedication for the people of the State of Illinois,” 2012
  • National Lifetime Volunteer Call to Service Award, provided by President Obama through the Points of Light Foundation, 2011
  • Illinois State Bar Association recognition and commendation award for meritorious service to the public and legal community, 2011
  • Honored by Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Chicago City Council with an honorary street sign, Jeffery M. Leving Way, at LaSalle and Madison streets, 2006.
  • President’s Volunteer Service Award, provided by President George W. Bush, 2006
  • Protector of the Family Award, Illinois State Crime Commission, 2006
  • Child Advocacy National Certificate of Recognition, American Bar Association, 2004
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Award of Merit, 1998
  • Certificate of award for contributing to drafting of Illinois Joint Custody Law, 1986
  • Certificate of outstanding achievement from Fathering Support Services, 1985

Books

  • Fathers’ Rights, (Basic Books), 1997
  • Divorce Wars (William Morrow), 2007
  • How to be a Good Divorced Dad (John Wiley & Sons), 2012

Representative published works

  • Kids Online Safety Act would Help Protect Children from Social Media Harm, Chicago Sun-Times, 2022
  • Cook County Should Consider Creating Co-parenting Court to Help at-Risk Families, Chicago Tribune, 2022
  • Illinois Needs a Law on Equal Parenting Time to Protect the Rights of Fathers, Chicago Sun-Times, 2022
  • Quality Time for Kids and Parents — a Pandemic Trend that Should Stay, Chicago Tribune, 2022
  • More Engagement by Fathers Would Help Fix Many of Society’s Ills, Chicago Sun-Times, 2021
  • The Build Back Better Bill would Make Paternity Leave Equitable for All Fathers, Chicago Sun-Times, 2021
  • Former Justice: Criticizing Judges for COVID Protocols ‘Really Unfair,’ Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2020
  • Child support arrearage shouldn’t be deducted from CARES Act stimulus, USA Today, 2020
  • Three Ways to Protect our Children in a City where Violence and Shootings are Too Common, Chicago Tribune, 2020
  • Witness, Illinois General Assembly, in favor of H.B. 4113, which provides equal parenting time, 2018
  • Witness, Illinois General Assembly, in favor of H.B. 0236, which suspends child support for incarcerated parents, 2019
  • Banning Dads from Delivery Room Deprives Dads of Critical Rights, The Examiner, 2014
  • The Father’s Custody Case (co-author), Trial Magazine, 1999
  • In Defense of Deadbeat Dads, Parents Magazine, 1997
  • Men Also Victims of Domestic Violence, Chicago Tribune, 1993
  • Wage Deductions and Child Support, Chicago Defender, 1989
  • Unfair to Divorced Fathers, Chicago Sun-Times, 1987
  • New Joint Custody Law Puts Child First, Chicago Sun-Times,1986

Representative seminar, media and other appearances

  • Panelist/presenter, Horasis Global Think Tank, 2022
  • Host, Dads Rights Legal Hour, weekly radio program on Power 92.3 FM, 2016-present
  • Interview guest, Daytime Chicago, WGN-TV, 2021
  • Commentator, WMEU-TV, 2021
  • Commentator, WMAQ-TV, 2021
  • Interview guest, This Week, WQAD-TV/WQPT-TV, 2021
  • Interview guest, WSIU-FM Radio, 2021
  • Interview guest, KMOX-AM Radio, 2021
  • Lecturer, Families and Fathers National Conference, 2021
  • Moderator, Arthur S. Kallow continuing legal education seminars, 2014-present
  • Interview guest, Newsmakers on Comcast, 2021
  • Analyst for preview of the Wynham Lathem murder trial, Court TV, 2021
  • Interview guest, WGN-TV, 2021
  • Interview guest, WLS-AM Radio, 2020
  • Regular commentator on the Jam, WCIU-TV, 2017-20
  • Legal analyst, Mancow Muller show, WLS-AM Radio, 2019-20
  • Speaker, Illinois House of Representatives press conference promoting the census, 2020
  • Guest, Rollye James Show, WGN Radio, 2020
  • Guest, Santita Jackson Show, WCPT Radio, 2020
  • Guest with Maze Jackson and former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, WVON-AM Radio, 2020
  • Commentator for the murder trial Michigan vs. Washington, Court TV, 2019
  • Lecturer, Fathers & Families Symposium, 2019
  • Guest, Taped with Rabbi Doug TV show, 2019
  • Speaker with State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford at press conference supporting fathers and children, 2019
  • Guest, You & Me, WCIU-TV, 2019
  • Interview guest on a foster care death in which Mr. Leving represented the child’s bereaved father, WMAQ-TV, 2018
  • Interview guest, KBOQ Radio, Monterrey, California, 2016
  • Interview guest, WBEL Radio, Beloit, Wisconsin, 2016
  • Interview guest, 91.1 ZHT Radio, Salt Lake City, 2016
  • Guest, Nancy Grace Show, HLN, 2015
  • Interview with Art Norman, WMAQ-TV, 2013
  • Interview guest on The Talk with Marion Brooks on WMAQ-TV, 2012
  • Presenter - Illinois Fatherhood Summit, chaired by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Gov. George H. Ryan and U.S. Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald, 1999
  • Guest, Judge and Jury, MSNBC, 1999
  • Guest, Equal Time on CNBC - Debated Against Attorney Gloria Allred, 1998
  • Guest, debated against one of Paula Jones' attorneys and former federal prosecutor in support of President Clinton, MSNBC, 1998.
  • Lecturer, Gov. Roy Romer’s 1998 Colorado Summit on Fatherhood, 1998
  • Guest, Morning Line, MSNBC, 1998
  • Guest commentator on paternity, Court TV Legal Café, 1997
  • Guest concerning G.E. executive’s divorce case, Newsfront, MSNBC, 1997
  • Guest, Newschat with John Gibson, 1997
  • Guest lecturer, fall lecture series, IIT/Chicago/Kent College of Law, 1997
  • Guest, Leeza Gibbons Show, 1997
  • Debate Against Gloria Allred, Equal Time, CNBC, 1997
  • Witness, divorce law and procedure, Illinois Senate, 1996
  • Guest, Nightline with Ted Koppel, 1995
  • Witness, United States Commission on Child and Family Welfare, Cleveland, Ohio, 1995
  • Lecturer, divorce rights program, Phoenix Group, St. Fabian Church, 1995
  • Guest, America's Talking, CNBC, 1995
  • Guest, Talk Back Live, CNN, 1995
  • Guest, Chicago Tonight, WTTW-TV, 1995
  • Guest, 20/20, ABC, 1995
  • Lecturer, The Father's Custody Case, annual convention, American Association for Justice, New York, 1995
  • Guest, A.M. Philadelphia, ABC affiliate, 1995
  • Guest, deadbeat dads, The Montel Williams Show, 1994
  • Speaker, men’s divorce rights, Woodson Regional Library, Chicago, 1994
  • Guest, Oprah Winfrey Show, 1994
  • Guest, Senator Berman's Forum, TV show, 1994
  • Speaker, Parents Without Partners, Discovery Zone, 1994
  • Guest, roundtable discussion, National Organization for Women, 1994
  • Guest, Talking with Aaron Freeman, child support television special, Ch. 50, 1993
  • Guest, Fatherhood in the 90s, special segment on 32 This Week, WFLD-TV Fox 32, 1993
  • Keynote speaker, divorce rights, St. Fabian Church, Phoenix Group, 1993
  • Lecturer, legal rights and emotional needs, Forest Hospital, 1992
  • Guest, Who Gets the Kids? The Jenny Jones Show, 1991
  • Lecturer, children's rights in divorce, Thorek Hospital, Chicago, 1991
  • Speaker, Don't Forget the Rights of Fathers, 13th annual Phoenix Conference, Archdiocese of Chicago, 1991

Representative Cases

  • In re Marriage of Steichen, 517 N.E.2d 645, 1987, Ill.App. 2 Dist., 1987154519

Representative Clients

  • Primarily Fathers involved in Custody Disputes
  • Manuel Gonzalez

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Matrimonial Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member
  • National Divorce Forum for Men, 1988
  • The National Congress for Fathers and Children, Member
  • Chicago Bar Association, Member, Committee on Matrimonial Law
  • Illinois State Bar, Member
  • American Association For Justice, Member
  • Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Member
  • Federal Trial Bar, Member

Fraternities/Sororities

  • Delta Theta Phi