Since 1990, The Lilac Tree has been a safe haven and a resource for women facing separation and divorce in Illinois.

We support, educate, and empower women to overcome these obstacles and move towards a better future.

Our History

In 1990, two local women and a group of divorce professionals realized that all women and their children, regardless of demographic, were especially vulnerable during and after a divorce. Women often lacked access to financial and legal knowledge, professional resources and emotional support. In response, they founded The Lilac Tree to offer women the necessary access to education, support, and resources whether they are contemplating divorce or have been divorced for many years.

Today, The Lilac Tree serves over 2,000 separating and divorcing women per year. We help before, during or after the divorce through a variety of educational and support programs and services. Our passionate Staff, Board, Volunteers, Committees and Referral Panel members are dedicated to our cause and our mission — providing better futures for women and their families.

Our Name

Our name has a deep metaphorical connection to our mission. One of our founders was a gardener and remembered an experience she had as a child while working with her father. They were digging up two lilac bushes that had been planted too closely together and, thus, were not blossoming well. Their roots were completely entwined together. Her father asked her, with her tiny hands, to slowly and gently untangle as many roots as possible so they could replant each bush in a different section of the garden with more space to give them a new opportunity to blossom again. A fresh start.

Those of you who are gardeners know it often takes two to three years to rejuvenate a plant or tree. After three years these “separated" lilac bushes were both blossoming and thriving as they never had before.

This is a metaphor for how we approach our mission. When a marriage or relationship, for whatever reason, comes to an end, it needs careful separation. Both parties need compassion (when possible), so that the two can begin new lives and eventually blossom and thrive again.