Business Profile | Cathy Bouchard

Thanks to her long journey from a life dedicated to the artistry of fashion design to the artistry of chocolate, for the past dozen years local residents have been the fortuitous beneficiaries of Cathy Bouchard’s shift in passion.

But it was more than simply a sweet tooth that led Bouchard to explore the wonders of chocolate. Her investigations into the healing properties of cacao to help alleviate the effects of fibromyalgia eventually led to the opening of her namesake shop in downtown Naperville, which has become a combination of chocoholic Eden, peaceful oasis and civic institution.

Can you tell us more about what inspired you to open Le Chocolat du Bouchard?
I opened in 2004 with the intent of bringing real (that is, European) chocolate to Naperville. Because of my love of all things European—especially Paris and Belgium—I designed Le Chocolat with the look and feel of a European chocolate shop, and we currently import some of our most decadent chocolates from Belgium.

During the first few weeks of being open, my incredible story of healing by cacao went national and now I have thousands of customers—not only in the Chicago area, but all around the country—who have experienced results from The Chocolat Regimen™ that I developed as a healthy, high-grade Belgian chocolate.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in starting the shop and keeping it going over the years?
Running a business is difficult at times, but when you love what you do it’s much less painful. With approximately thirty-five employees we have transitioned into a full-fledged French bistro, complete with wine plus full lunch and dinner menus. So the challenges are increasing daily, but we’ve built a great team here.

How has the business grown or changed over the years? What are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Our immediate future plans include opening a second Le Chocolat just south of our downtown location [this month], which will include a smaller retail version of the bakery, with chocolate production and the gift basket division in an adjoining building as we ramp up our wholesale sales to hotels, restaurants and banquet facilities. More of my signature products will be coming in 2017 as well, with wine/chocolate bars and chocolate pairing kits, and we are also considering future expansion not only in the Chicago area, but into other prime national locations as well.

What do you like best about living and running a business in Naperville?
Having a business in Naperville is incredible. It will certainly make me proud to someday say that our flagship store is located in Naperville, because this city is truly an amazing place. I’ve lived here for twenty-eight years and have loved every minute of it.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I take time away from the business, I relax by reading nonfiction—I love to learn new things every day and read more about the history of places where my husband and I travel. As I get older, I’m also thoroughly enjoying the time I get to spend with my three daughters and my grandchildren.

I also love to bake, so the Le Chocolat patisserie was a no-brainer. I have the greatest job in the world: I get to taste-test chocolate, macarons and pastries from all over the world. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

What is your “can’t-miss” recommendation for first-time visitors to Le Chocolat?
I highly recommend our signature carrot cake, even though it’s not chocolate. Our recipe is amazing and we’ve heard thousands of times that it’s the best carrot cake people have ever tasted.

What do you hope customers get out of a visit to your shop?
I love when customers walk in, glance around and comment that they feel like they’re back in Paris again.

Le Chocolat du Bouchard
127–129 South Washington Street

The 630 | February 2017


Motor City

The Chicago Auto Show is an ever-popular attraction, this year held at McCormick Place from February 11 to 20. One million square feet of exhibit space features one thousand domestic and imported passenger cars and trucks, sport utility vehicles and experimental or concept cars. Special days include Women’s Day February 15, Hispanic Heritage Day February 17 and Family Day February 20. Tickets are $13 for adults and $7 for seniors or children 7 to 12. Bring three non-perishable food donations from February 15 to 17 for a reduced ticket coupon; donations will benefit clients of A Safe Haven Community Food Pantry, a nearby service organization. For tickets and info,

Winter Ale Fest

Situated on a likely frozen Frontier Park (3380 Cedar Glade Road), the February 25 Winter Ale Fest features over 150 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. Pull out your long johns and parkas and experience winter’s best craft beers. The fest also features live music and Chicagoland’s favorite food trucks. Search for “Naperville Winter Ale Fest” on your phone to download an app with a map of the beer tents and food trucks, as well as a listing of the 150 unique American craft beers to taste. General admission is $50, which includes a sampling glass; designated drivers can maintain sobriety—and their dignity—with unlimited pop and water for $20. Be sure to leave the little ones at home, as this is a 21+ event. For tickets and info,

Chocolate Walk

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the ones you love in support of a great cause: Downtown Naperville will again host 360 Youth Services’ Chocolate Walk on Saturday, February 11 from noon to 5:00 p.m. A $30 ticket affords you a badge and a map of participating downtown Naperville shops and restaurants. Use your souvenir chocolate tin to collect one chocolate item at each stop. Tickets are available at the 360 Youth Services office (1305 Oswego Road) or the Downtown Naperville Alliance office (55 South Main Street, Suite 351). Proceeds benefit 360 Youth Services, which provides services to youth through substance abuse prevention education, counseling and housing. For info,

Éirinn go Brách

West Suburban Irish—yes, that’s an actual thing you now want to join—will celebrate its twentieth Emerald Dinner on February 25 at the new banquet space Elements at Water Street. Witness the crowning of the 2017 Parade Queen and enjoy entertainment by the McNulty Irish Dancers and Cirrus Falcon. Guests also will enjoy a discounted rate at Hotel Indigo next door. For info, Sláinte!

Jump Zone

Small fans of NBC’s competition series American Ninja Warrior can now test their skills at Sky High Sports’ new Ninja Warrior Style Course. The obstacle course is a fun challenge for kids of all ages—don’t be surprised if this is the new “it” birthday party destination, moms. $12 will buy parents one hour of solitude and free wi-fi; $20 will get you two. Kids 11 and up can jump from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights when they turn down the lights and crank up the music. Ninja warrior skills are not required, but grip socks are.


Andy’s Frozen Custard

Andy’s Naperville marks the restaurant’s seventh Illinois location, which serves frozen treats year-round.

3104 Anna Marie Lane

Elly’s Pancake House

Brunch lovers now have another option in Naperville Crossings. Elly’s serves breakfast and lunch from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in its seventh Chicagoland location.

2656 Showplace Drive

Gentle Learning Preschool

This Lisle Park District facility offers programs for three- to four-year-olds. Registration is open for fall 2017.

1925 Ohio Street, Lisle


Cantigny Golf’s Director of Agronomy Scott Witte and Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents Executive Director Luke Cella have won the 2016 Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award. The award recognizes individuals who use their interest in honey bees to benefit a community. Cantigny Golf is home to six managed hives and two wild hives. Witte and Cella will receive a $6,000 grant to bring their program to other golf courses in the area. And the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, of which Cantigny Golf is a part, will match the grant two-to-one to set up a Pollinator Fund of $18,000 that will be used to promote diverse ecosystems on golf courses throughout Chicago. Bee-utiful!

The Naperville Central High School teacher who spearheaded a statewide effort to designate Global Scholar Certification on students’ diplomas and transcripts will have $100,000 to see his full vision realized. Social studies teacher Seth Brady won the generous grant as part of a teacher challenge by Farmer’s Insurance.

The Illinois Principals Association has named Bolingbrook High School Principal Dr. Jason Pascavage its Principal of the Year in Three Rivers Region, which includes Kendall, Will, Grundy and Kankakee Counties.

Continental Motors Group recently partnered with Loaves & Fishes Community Services to put eight area residents in need back on the road. The families were presented with cars as part of the “Driven to Care” event at Continental Toyota.

The My Favorite Things event recently hosted by local Iron Gate Motor Condos raised more than $8,000 to benefit Cal’s Angels, a Chicago-area non-profit that helps families with children battling cancer.

The PPG Foundation recently donated $15,000 to the Chicago Urban League to support the organization’s science, technology, engineering and math out-of-school program and summer camp for middle-school students, Project Ready. The donation was made on behalf of PPG’s architectural coatings facilities in Batavia and Aurora.

Ten Fox Valley students recently received the Ted Brattin Civic Youth Award for outstanding leadership, civic involvement and selfless community service. Brattin, a World War II Marine veteran and Aurora businessman, helped found the Aurora Navy League Council and Aurora-Naperville Rotary Club. From left are Austin Runde, Aurora Central Catholic High School; Guadalupe Romualdo, Waubonsee Community College; Nabila Qadri, Naperville North High School; Natalie McKee, Rosary High School; Noelle Kilpatrick, Oswego High School; Brooke Jensen, Yorkville High School; Benjamin Garcia, Marmion Academy; Archit Dhar, Neuqua Valley High School; Vanessa Cai, Neuqua Valley High School; and Yasmin Broy, Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy.

Leading with Compassion—A local organization assists vulnerable people in crisis

Susan Sperry’s resume stands on its own. But it may be something less tangible that makes her the perfect choice to serve as executive director of World Relief DuPage/Aurora, a title she assumed in September. Previously she served as program director overseeing social services provided to refugees in the area, initial resettlement, employment, youth services and counseling.

Young impressions

Sperry was born and raised in the small town of St. Simon’s in South Georgia. She attended Wheaton College, North Park University (a Christian liberal arts university in Chicago) and Northwestern University. She says her father worked for a nonprofit company and the value of giving back was impressed upon her and her two younger siblings at a very early age. “We grew up knowing about people who suffered around the world. We learned from my parents about giving back. And it was very much rooted in the Christian faith,” Sperry says.

When she was in high school a young girl from Croatia came to live with her family for six months. “While my childhood certainly shaped my desire to work with refugees and immigrants, it is the example of Jesus and a desire to follow him that drives my involvement with World Relief and other organizations that promote justice and fight poverty.”

Immigration services

World Relief has been resettling refugees, through a contract with the US Department of State, in DuPage County since 1979 and in the city of Aurora since 1999. Once they arrive, volunteers from area churches and families have helped those refugees transition into life in the United States. Sperry’s first personal experience with the program she now oversees gave her “a desire to learn about people different from myself.” And, Sperry says to this day, that remains her favorite part of working with World Relief.

“This is the worst refugee crisis since World War II,” according to Sperry.  Fortunately, she says, with the increased focus on the situation in Syria, help for refugees from individuals and churches has been “coming out of the woodwork.” Currently, World Relief DuPage/Aurora settles around 565 people in DuPage and Kane counties annually.

Immigration was a controversial subject in the recent presidential election and Sperry says there is “some concern,” but she remains focused on “advocating for continued resettlement of all the identified refugee groups, including Syrians.”

Last year marked the first year Syrian refugees could be admitted into the resettlement program, Sperry says. “The numbers are still small, around twenty families since 2015.” She adds there are less than a dozen who have been here for more than a year, and she calls them “the most vulnerable” of the refugee population. “Most refugees we work with have fled persecution from Burma, Iraq and Bhutan, along with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Iran.” She continues, “They were victims of torture, came from single-parent headed households or were battling significant health conditions.” 

Once the refugees arrive in the United States, a rigorous process begins to ensure they are housed, given job counseling, health care and other social services.  Sperry oversees the entire process. It takes the right mix of organizational, leadership, advocacy and people skills to pull it off successfully. But it requires another important—though less measurable—skill as well. “I thought I knew a lot about compassion,” Sperry reflects. “I learned about the world by doing this.”

Dream Job | Casey Short

Casey Short is making her dream a reality. The Naperville native began her soccer career at Naperville Central High School, then Florida State University. After overcoming injuries to her ACL and MCL, Short played a season in Norway before landing on the Chicago Red Stars roster in 2016. Last fall she accomplished one of the greatest honors within her sport: She was called up to play on the US Women’s National Team.

Who has been your biggest support system and how have they helped you?

My family—I credit my dad especially for helping my recovery process, by flying down to Florida State after my ACL and MCL injuries. They really supported me mentally as well because this was not the route I was expecting to take. However, the injuries did allow me to work on parts of my game I would not have worked on otherwise.

What has been your favorite memory being on the Chicago Red Stars?

Scoring my first professional goal, which happened to be in Chicago, was extremely exciting for me, even though it was not a pretty goal. It was super neat being able to score that in front of all my family and friends at Toyota Park. It was a special moment, coming full circle, after a long journey through injuries and all the support I had.

What is an average Chicago Red Stars practice like?

The team usually gets to the practice facility around 10:00 a.m., beginning with some movement preparation for about a half hour. That is followed by watching film before heading out to the practice fields. Once we take the field, we are out there for at least a couple of hours every practice. Like any sport, taking care of your body and recovering is crucial, so you can compete at a high level every day. I take care of mine by a post-practice cold tub, or post treatment and recovery, as well as maintaining a healthy diet.

What is your game day routine?

It’s my tradition to have a coffee and go on a walk for every home game, that we have since we are on our own when the game’s in Chicago. However, away games are a bit different since the whole team is in the same hotel. We have a team walk and stretch during the morning of game day, followed by a pre-game meal as a team.

How does one make the US Women’s National Team and how does it feel to even be considered? 

There could be scouts at any time or any place that you play and they have to send you an invite to camp in order to make the team. Once you make it to camp, you are called a “floater” and are essentially on trial the entire time. It’s a very nerve-wracking process and you always need to be on top of your game because every little thing matters.

Like every little soccer girl’s dream, it’s always been one of mine—to be able to play for the national team. During my rehab stage after my injuries, the national team is what inspired me to work hard and keep a positive mindset. When I received the call about the invitation, I was not only emotional but very honored for the opportunity they presented me. As exciting as it is, there is still a lot of hard work ahead of me.

Business Briefs | February 2017


Professional services firm Sikich LLP recently promoted Joy Duce, Anthony Cervini and Brad Hermes to partner. Duce leads the firm’s human resources consulting practice, Cervini provides audit and accounting services to local governments and Hermes specializes in accounting services for midsize private companies.

Jude Marchetti is the new assistant managing broker of the Elmhurst, Naperville and Glen Ellyn offices of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group. Marchetti has been working in the real estate business for over 40 years; she began her sales career in the Hinsdale area and expanded outward into the surrounding Western suburbs.

The Naperville Fire Department has named Andy Dina its new deputy fire chief, and Amy Scheller fire division chief. The deputy fire chief oversees staff supervision, department and program budgets and serves as the liaison to the Board of Fire and Police and the Naperville Fire Protection District. The fire division chief provides direction and supervision of the three major divisions of the Fire Department, including EMS, Training and Support Services.

The Naperville Police Department has promoted Jason Arres to deputy chief of the Investigations Division, which employs 65 people. This division investigates crimes that occur, ranging from narcotics to computer crimes and more. The Investigations Division is also responsible for the implementation of community programs and the collection, evaluation and storage of evidence.

Lyn M. Edmonson of Naperville is the new associate veterinarian at West Suburban Veterinary Associates in Westmont. She specializes in preventive care, internal medicine, surgery and diagnostic medicine. Dr. Edmonson has been practicing small animal medicine for more than eight years. She is proficient in soft tissue surgeries, surgical dental extractions and has a special interest in Cold Laser Therapy.

Real estate professional John Wesolowski has joined the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Naperville. Wesolowski brings 25 years of professional experience in the field; his expertise is working with home buyers and sellers in Naperville, Plainfield, Aurora and Lisle.

Divorce Attorney Christopher J. Maurer of Wheaton law firm Anderson & Associates, P.C., will serve on the Board of Directors of the DuPage Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the DuPage County Bar Association. Maurer is a trained Guardian ad Litem, Child’s Representative, and Attorney for the Child within the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Judicial Circuits in Illinois.

Sue Salness recently was appointed principal of Mill Street Elementary School and Hugh Boger was appointed principal of Scott Elementary School. Salness is currently serving as principal of Ranch View Elementary and Boger is currently serving as assistant principal at both Ranch View and Highlands Elementary. Salness and Boger will begin their new roles on July 1, 2017.

Naperville’s Deanna Doohaluk has joined The Conservation Foundation as watershed project manager and will bring her experience managing water quality issues to support the work of the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup.


CEO Dominique Raccah recently was named the Publishers Weekly (PW) “Person of the Year” for 2016, in recognition of her determination, creativity and energy in making Sourcebooks one of the country’s leading independent publishers. The Naperville company she founded thirty years ago publishes about 500 books annually with a staff of 129, and Raccah is seen as an industry visionary. She was named “Innovator of the Year” by Book Industry Study Group, and Sourcebooks recently was selected as a Rising Star by the wholesaler Readerlink.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago has recently awarded two 2016 Golden Key Awards to DJK Custom Homes: Outstanding Design in New Construction Architecture and Outstanding Design Excellence in High Performance for Green Construction. DJK recently built Naperville’s second Net-Zero Energy and LEED Platinum certified home in a Modern Farm House style. The Key Awards recognize excellence in housing design, architecture, interior merchandising, landscaping, landscape architecture and remodeling.

Books | February 2017


The Orphan’s Tale

By Pam Jenoff (MIRA)

When sixteen-year-old Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of her own baby who she was forced to give up after getting pregnant by a Nazi soldier. She steals one of the babies and flees to a German circus, where she creates a bond with its lead aerialist.

A Piece of the World

By Christina Baker Kline (HarperCollins Publishers)

The bestselling author of Orphan Train illuminates a little-known part of America’s history, imagining the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.


Diet Right for Your Personality Type: The Revolutionary 4-Week weight-Loss Plan that Works for you

By Jen Widerstrom (Harmony)

In her first book, diet expert and personal trainer Jen Widerstrom has showcases a plan to maximize weight loss and keep it off by eating right for your specific personality type. She reveals the five, most common personality types so you can own your weight loss for life.

A Meatloaf in Every Oven: Two Chatty Cooks, One Iconic Dish and Dozens of Recipes—from Mom’s to Mario Batali’s

By Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer (Grand Central Publishing)

Bruni and Steinhauer address all the controversies (Ketchup, or no? Sauté the veggies?) surrounding a dish that has legions of enthusiastic disciples, and help you troubleshoot so you never have to suffer a dry loaf again.

Katie Ernst—Someone You Should Know

While it may break the hearts of her former English teachers at Naperville North High School to learn the truth, Katie Ernst wasn’t spending all of those hours at the Nichols Library during her teenage years brushing up on Brontë or delving into Dickens. Though she loved to read as well, Ernst was more a musical searcher than a budding bookworm, and was therefore instead buried beneath a set of headphones, discovering and dissecting the challenging and addictive sounds of legendary composers and iconoclasts like Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk.

The good news—not just for her teachers, but for jazz listeners in Chicago and beyond—is that the education and inspiration gained from those countless listening sessions have helped turn the now 28-year-old bassist and singer into one of the most compelling young voices on the local jazz scene.

“My dedication to music grew slowly and steadily over my years at
Naperville North,” Ernst recalls. “I loved music as a kid, but I also liked playing sports and reading books and doing all the usual kid activities. But once it became clear that music performance could be a serious pursuit—and not just another after-school activity—I decided to major in music performance and apply to music schools around the country.”

That pursuit led Ernst to several summers in Door County, Wisconsin at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center and to Rochester, New York to study and play at the Eastman School of Music. These formative posts along her musical journey helped solidify two passions to which she remains devoted: exploring the seemingly limitless possibilities of jazz music and mentoring other young musicians who are seeking a similar path.

“I was drawn to jazz because of its openness toward personal expression and individuality,” she explains. “Jazz thrives on versatility and open-mindedness, which is why it has always found its way into all kinds of music, from pop and modern classical to hip hop and even country.”

It is this sense of versatility and open-mindedness that has guided Ernst’s multi-faceted approach to jazz, which has thus far encompassed—among other wide-ranging endeavors—performing in the ongoing Chicago-based trio Twin Talk (with saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi and drummer Andrew Green). Their work includes a well-received original song cycle based on the poetry of Dorothy Parker called “Little Words,” and a high-profile solo turn in the world premiere of pianist/composer and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran’s evening-length commission “Looks of a Lot” at Symphony Center in 2014.

Despite her increasingly busy touring and recording schedules, Ernst is equally committed to mentoring aspiring young musicians who she sees looking for the same answers and opportunities that she was just a few short years ago, which is why she also maintains a slate of teaching and volunteer gigs at places like Wheaton College, Grace Presbyterian North Shore and the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Because when it comes to getting a well-rounded education, few people can better attest to the importance of hitting both the books and the CDs at the local library.

“I feel a strong sense of responsibility to continue growing and searching and creating,” she says. “The musicians I most admire are those whose music evolves and changes over their lifetimes—those who use music to ask new questions, or seek out new answers to old questions. That’s what I’d like to spend my next eighty years or so doing.”

Now Hear this

Later this month Ernst will travel to Washington DC’s Kennedy Center to reprise her role in a performance of pianist Jason Moran’s large-scale composition, “Looks of a Lot.” But before that big date in the nation’s capital, local listeners can hear the bassist in one of her fairly typical settings—among a quartet of veteran Chicago jazz cats, helping to nurture the next generation of young musicians.

Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Links Jam Session
February 8 at 5:30 p.m.

Studio Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington

Historical Inspiration

Vintage antiques blend with custom artwork and cabinetry in this comfortable, timeless home.


Year Built: New construction, completed in 2015

Architect: Thomas J. Ryan, Jr.

Builder: Marc Nelson of Nelson General Contracting Inc.

Designer: Angela Graefenhain of Graefenhain Designs

Cabinetry: Custom-built by Nelson

Total Home Square Footage: 3,879

Lot Size: 66×96

Location: Downtown Naperville

Living Room: A detached garage allows four sides of natural light and views to and from interior spaces. The back patio provides privacy and the feel of an enclosed urban courtyard.

Deep windows create a vintage feel throughout the home.

Kitchen: Master carpenters custom-built the cabinetry throughout the home using various woods that werefinished without stain to respect the integrity of the species.

Authentic materials—such as solid walnut for the kitchen cabinets and master bath vanity—enhance the home’s timeless appeal.

Artisan glass and original artwork contribute to an overall sense of adventure throughout the house.

Foyer: The craftsmanship and artistry of the home are timeless, and at the same time very modern; clean-lined Scandinavian design is combined with vintage elements and lots of white and natural wood. The design of this custom stained-glass window represents the couple’s three adult children.

Office: His-and-her offices are used daily—there are no unused rooms in this house. When the weather is nice the adjoining front porch is the place to soak in the activity and energy of downtown Naperville.

Financial Separation

January is the most common month for couples to file for divorce, which often makes February a financial fire drill for soon-to-be ex-spouses.

At the beginning of a divorce case, the courts require detailed financial information to help determine the extent of assets owned by the couple and whether—and how much—financial support needs to be given to one of the spouses. If one spouse had tight control over all the accounts and investments, the other can be at a severe disadvantage when lawyers start negotiating and/or judges make decisions in the case.

Liz Sheehan, a financial advisor at UBS Wealth Management in Chicago who works on financial planning with many couples, said it’s not unusual for her to meet with a divorcing spouse who has not been part of the financial planning process for his/her family. “All of a sudden, on top of everything else they’re dealing with in their lives, they have to take control of finances as well,” she says.

Only one in four couples truly shares in the financial decision-making, according to a UBS study on couples and money. Men assume the primary financial decision-making role in 40 percent of couples, the study found.

Regardless, the need for a full financial picture and estimated budget becomes clear soon after the divorce filing. Once a divorce case gets filed by one spouse and the other spouse is served, each party has thirty days to complete the initial financial disclosure, says Greg Maksimuk, partner at the Wheaton office of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, the nation’s largest law firm dedicated to family law.

“This disclosure is required by the court rules and is a detailed summary of all income, expenses, assets and liabilities each party has,” he says. “The preparation of this document requires a significant amount of work,” and must include corroborating documents.

If there is an information disparity, it can result in one spouse getting an overly generous—or much too low—temporary support arrangement at the beginning of the process, which might influence financial decisions in the rest of the case.

“The more information a party has at the outset the better position they will be in moving forward,” Maksimuk says. “Like many things, information and knowledge about all issues in the case can be very powerful.”

As spouses gather important paperwork—such as tax returns, bank statements and credit card statements—they also need to figure out what their new budget will be during, and potentially after, the divorce.

“One of my jobs is to help them get a grip on what they’re going to spend and how much they’re going to need,” says attorney Danya Grunyk, partner at Grunyk Family Law in Naperville. Even though it can be a pain, people need to create a “good, detailed budget” to account for all necessary expenses.

Sheehan suggested prioritizing financial tasks in this way:

  1. Figure out cash flow, which affects alimony and child support
  2. Address risk management, which includes updating estate plans, life insurance and beneficiary designations for IRAs and 401Ks
  3. Continue long-term goal planning, to make sure “that your decisions today are not going to derail your long-term probability of being able to meet your financial goal,” she says.

“Going through a divorce is a very emotional and overwhelming situation,” Sheehan says. “A lot of times you’re not able to tackle a big to-do list. The right team of professionals can make the job easier for you, eliminate stress and leave you feeling empowered. The empowerment is a big thing for people going through divorce, allowing you to feel like you’re in control of your life and finances.”