Our Group

A Family Law and Estate Planning Firm Here to Serve You 

A Family Law Team

Here to Serve You

At Sterk Family Law Group, we believe that each client is an integral part of our team. Together we strive toward preserving his or her best interests. A successful attorney-client relationship starts with good communication. Communication is the key to keeping our clients aware of each stage of their case and the related court process. We work diligently to provide our clients with efficient service and feel a strong ethical responsibility to inform and involve clients with every aspect of their litigation.

Meet Our Team

Attorneys

Jennifer L. Allred– Family Law Attorney

fka Jennifer L. Spear

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Communications from DePaul University of Chicago and her Juris Doctor degree in Phoenix, Arizona.  Jennifer has focused her legal career in criminal and family law, and has also worked with State and Local governments to resolve small business issues.  She has the ability to empathize with clients through the strenuous times of a divorce, while strongly advocating in court and keeping the client focused on the end result.  Jennifer has recently joined our team at Gwendolyn J. Sterk Family Law Group, P.C. 

Keshia P. Bardney – Family Law Attorney

Keshia is an attorney whose primary area of practice is Family Law and intellectual property. Keshia, by nature, is drawn to helping others. Her legal career experiences match this passion. Keshia’s legal career is highlighted as a law clerk within the Illinois Attorney General’s Workers’ Compensation Bureau. She negotiated the best benefits and settlement for injured state workers. Keshia has vast experience supporting small business owners seeking trademark protections by navigating them through the trademark application process. Keshia earned her Juris Doctorate from John Marshall School of Law, where she concentrated in Intellectual Property. Keshia is Licensed to practice in Illinois by the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. Keshia is also a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

Terry M. Fogarty– Estate Planning Attorney

Terry Fogarty is an attorney whose primary area of practice at our office is Estate Planning and Probate. After earning his law degree during his service in the United States Air Force, Terry entered private practice.  He has experience in real estate, estate planning, and civil litigation including handling decedent’s and guardianship estates for both minors and disabled adults. Terry also works with families to create their estate plan including Wills and Trusts.  For those families which include a person with special needs, Terry works to create Special Needs trusts and will explore other tools available for unique family circumstances.  Terry joined our team at Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group P.C., in 2019.

Joan van Oss– Family Law Attorney

Joan has garnered nearly ten years of legal experience in family law. An avid traveler, who has lived in three countries,  Joan fell in love with Chicago and settled down here permanently in 2016.

She is a member of various bar associations throughout the greater Chicagoland area.  As an attorney of our firm, Joan will be appearing in court to handle routine and contested matters and is a strong advocate for our clients both in and out of the courtroom.  Joan joined our team in 2017.

Ragan Freitag Pattison– Family Law Attorney

Ragan Freitag Pattison is a Family Law attorney who graduated from Joliet Catholic Academy and previously served as President of the Joliet Catholic Academy Alumni Association. She went on to be one of the few women that graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina where she received both military training and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and American Government. She was elected to the Will County Board and to the Will County Forest Preserve in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Most recently, Ragan resigned as an elected official to take the position of the Chief of Staff for the Will County Board. Ragan joined the team at Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group P.C in 2017.

Gwendolyn J. Sterk– Team Leader & Attorney

As an attorney and Team Leader of our Family Law Group, Gwendolyn meets with potential clients and develops the initial strategy for each case by analyzing the needs of the client and assessing the most effective approach to accomplish their primary objectives and best interest. Gwendolyn plays an integral role in every client’s case, and directs each team member according to specific client needs on a daily basis. Gwendolyn regularly appears in court conducting pretrials, hearings and trials. Gwendolyn’s goal is to have fully informed clients who understand their options. The relationship formed with each client is key to the success of the case. Gwendolyn and the Family Law team believe in a holistic approach to servicing our clients and promote counseling for each in a manner that helps them move on with integrity and dignity. Gwendolyn successfully started her own law firm, Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group, P.C., in 2015. Gwendolyn currently sits on the Board of Directors for Forever U and MorningStar Mission.

Paralegals

Jackie Sulich– Managing Paralegal

Jackie is the managing paralegal of our Family Law Group, and Jackie may be your first contact as a new or returning client. Jackie is responsible for providing information to help guide clients through their family law related issues. As part of our team, Jackie may also initially meet with our potential clients to discuss office procedures, preliminary steps for filing an action and what to expect moving forward. Jackie develops a relationship with each client that will continue to grow throughout their entire case. Jackie also drafts court documents, conducts legal research, and assists our team with developing strategies and scenarios for settlement negotiations and an ultimate, final resolution or trial. Jackie is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 1995.

Crystal Pavloski– Senior Paralegal

Crystal is a senior paralegal with whom you may have frequent contact. Crystal’s role in the Family Law Group is that of client liaison, fielding a heavy volume of client phone calls throughout the day. Crystal develops a relationship with clients to help them understand the court process and to ensure that each client is fully informed about their case. Crystal assists in all aspects of a client’s litigation, from drafting initial pleadings to commence the action, to preparing, organizing and reviewing incoming and outgoing discovery. She also prepares matrimonial trial memorandums, drafts motions or petitions throughout the litigation, and prepares a case for trial or prove up. Crystal is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 2003.

Amanda Engelman– Senior Paralegal

Amanda is a senior paralegal who focuses her efforts on complex cases which require a significant amount of investigation and attention to detail. Amanda works closely with clients to ensure that all financials and documents are up to date. She also drafts pleadings, motions and other Court documents. Additionally, she works very closely with the attorneys with regard to trial preparation. Amanda is a Member of the Illinois Paralegal Association,  and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 2015.

Laura Kennard– Senior Paralegal

Laura is a senior paralegal who focuses her efforts on thoroughly reviewing and investigating discovery answers and assets of the  parties.  She works with clients and the attorneys to ensure all avenues of the investigation of discovery answers and assets are complete.  She also drafts various pleadings and motions during the course of family law cases and works closely with the attorneys to prepare a case for trial.  Laura is a Member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, has been a paralegal for 18 years and has worked with the Sterk Family Law Group since 2019. Laura currently serves on the Board of Directors for Exceptional Children’s Charities.

Elizabeth Briick–Senior Paralegal

Elizabeth A. Briick is a Senior Paralegal with Sterk Family Law Group. Elizabeth holds an Associates degree in Paralegal Science and Bachelors degree in Psychology. With over 15 years of experience in family law as a paralegal/legal assistant, Elizabeth is a valuable asset while working with clients with complex financial family law cases.   In her spare time, Elizabeth volunteers as a child advocate for CASA of River Valley.

Legal Assistants

Amy Bravo–Litigation Paralegal

Amy is a litigation paralegal whom you may have frequent contact. She processes court orders and court related documents to clients and relays important information such as results from Court or new case developments in addition to working with the maintenance of our court schedule. She also assists our team with other projects as time allows. Amy has over 30 years of experience as a Family Law legal assistant, is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 2018.

Arianna A. Fleckenstein–Discovery Paralegal

Arianna is a discovery paralegal who you may have frequent contact with in order for her to gather and prepare the documents necessary for completion of Financial Affidavit forms. Holding a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, Arianna has experience as a legal advocate and Deputy Clerk at the Will County Circuit Clerk’s office and has volunteered as a Domestic Violence/sexual assault advocate/counselor. Arianna is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and joined our team in 2017. Her professional experience will be an asset while working with the team to process your case.

Jennifer Hanik–Discovery Paralegal

Jen is a discovery paralegal with whom you will have frequent contact at the beginning of your case. Jen is the initial contact to assemble the necessary information for all financial disclosures, a requirement in every case. In addition, Jen works with each client on discovery requests to assist in the gathering of relevant documents and prepares updates as needed. Jen is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 2011.

Marketing

Kelly Garver–Business Development & Marketing Manager

Kelly Garver is the business development and marketing manager for Sterk Family Law. Often, as the first point of contact with our prospective clients, Kelly’s goal is to offer the understanding and support to provide affirmation of the services our firm has to offer. Professional and compassionate, Kelly provides our clients with honest and knowledgeable insights to guide them as they move forward in taking the first steps in the next chapters of their lives. With over a decade of professional experience in marketing, event planning, and business development, Kelly also serves as an ambassador for the professional development of our firm. Between participating in local and regional networking events and promoting the Sterk Family Law Group’s brand through various marketing initiatives, Kelly strives to build awareness and forge long-term relationships to share our mission with our local communities. Kelly sits on the Board for the Joliet Chamber Council for Working Women. 

Monika Wolniak–Graphic Designer / Office Assistant

Monika re-joined our team full time in 2016 as a graphic designer/office assistant. She has previously worked both full and part with our group on various projects over the last 10 years. Monika prepares visual presentations by designing art and copy layouts and assists in concept planning. Monika received her undergraduate degree in Visual Communication and Graphic Design in 2015. Monika also does a variety of work for our office to ensure that it operates smoothly and efficiently. Monika is on the Board for Family Fun Fest. 

Coordinators

Alyssa A. Blando–Receptionist / Legal Assistant

Alyssa is our Receptionist as well a Legal Assistant. She helps keep our office running smoothly by providing a wide range of daily assistance to our clients and our entire team. She schedules appointments and telephone conference with clients, reviews and distributes faxes and emails, and coordinates our daily in office schedule. She will field the majority of calls coming into our office to ensure that all questions or concerns are directed to the appropriate team member. Alyssa joined our team in 2016.

April Pacho- Billing Coordinator

April is a billing coordinator of our office and deals directly with clients to assist in devising a plan that works for both the client and our office in order to manage and resolve any remaining or current account balance with our firm. April also helps us maintain our records and assists when fees are sought during the course of litigation from the other party. She joined our team in 2020.

Roza Gelman-Special Project Coordinator

Roza is a special project coordinator for our Family Law Group. She has a passion to assist victims of domestic violence through difficult times and serious situations they are facing. Roza draws on the experience she gained while working at Guardian Angel Community Services to provide a unique, hands on perspective to our clients who have endured domestic abuse. She has also served both as a counselor and a Legal Advocate at the Will County Courthouse. Her previous experience as a Legal Advocate allows her to assist our group in providing vital information and resources for our clients who have struggled or are struggling in an abusive relationship.

Robin Maatman-Accounting/Billing Coordinator

Robin is the accounting/billing coordinator for our office and has over 30 years of legal experience. Robin prepares all of the billing and performs all Juris accounting for the practice but she enjoys wearing many hats in the legal office. She has been working part-time with our firm since the inception of Sterk Family Law Group in 2015.

Duke Sterk – Law Dog

Duke Sterk is a Goldendoodle who joined Sterk Family Law Group in 2016 and was trained as a therapy dog for our clients and our team.  He brings joy every day to everyone he greets.  He is responsible to provide support, diversion, cuteness, and fun.  Duke is a welcome addition to our office and our clients love him.  He regularly attends our firm’s events and loves anyone willing to pet him.

Begin Your Journey To Self-Healing

Sterk Family Law Group is a firm of experienced family law attorneys in Orland Park, IL. Contact us to schedule your free family law or estate planning consultation today!