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

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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 the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center and MorningStar Mission.

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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.

Jenna Allred

Jennifer L. Allred– Family Law Attorney

fka Jennifer L. Spear

Jennifer L. Allred, aka “Jenna,” 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 joined our team at Gwendolyn J. Sterk Family Law Group, P.C. in 2021. Jenna sits on the Board of Directors of Rainbows For All Children.

Terry M. Fogarty– Estate Planning Attorney

Terry Fogarty is an attorney whose primary area of practice at our office is Estate Planning. 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.

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Caroline M. Powell – Family Law Attorney

Caroline brings nearly a decade of experience in family law, litigation, and immigration law. Her diverse background equips her to handle a wide range of legal issues competently and effectively. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in finance, Caroline is well-equipped to assist clients with intricate financial matters, providing them with valuable insights and strategic guidance. She also brings a practical approach to child-related matters and helps clients navigate parenting matters, with the best interests of the children being paramount. Caroline joined our team in 2024.

Paralegals

Jackie Sulich

Jackie L. Sulich– Managing Paralegal

Jackie is the managing paralegal of our Family Law Group. Jackie is responsible for providing information to help guide clients through their family law-related issues. As part of our team, Jackie manages our team and ensures that our systems are effective to meet our client’s needs. Jackie develops a relationship with clients that will continue to grow throughout their entire case.  Her work with our entire team also involves fulfilling the requirements to divide retirement assets. Jackie 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 obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Lewis University, is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, earned the credential of an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP), and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 1995.

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Crystal S. 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, earned the credential of an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP), and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 2003.

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Laura A. 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 has been a paralegal for 20 years, is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP) and started with Sterk Family Law Group in 2019.

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Cozette M. Stovall– Senior Discovery Project Paralegal

Cozette  M. Stovall is a Paralegal with Sterk Family Law Group. Cozette holds an Associates degree in Business Administration and has over 20 years of experience in family law as a paralegal/legal assistant.Cozy handles all reviews of final Financial Affidavits and supporting documents for accuracy and compliance prior to submission, analyzing the information provided by client to ensure all information is consistent with the client’s supporting financial documentation, including tax returns, pay statements, bank account records, and other financial records.  Cozy also organizes complex and multifaceted discovery and subpoena responses, specifically in complex financial situations, preparing summaries of findings, deficiencies, Dissipation Charts, as well as providing a detailed analysis of the findings and preparation of Chart of Assets with proposed distribution of assets and debts.  Additionally, Cozy may assist on Hearing and/or Trial preparation, including conducting a thorough discovery review of the file and preparation of initial Exhibits for Court. 

Cozette is a valuable asset while working with clients with complex family law cases.   

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Elizabeth A. 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. Elizabeth is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP).   

Legal Assistants

Heather Bernal

Heather Bernal–Litigation Paralegal

Heather  Bernal is a litigation paralegal whom you may have frequent contact with in order for her to gather and prepare the documents necessary for legal discovery.  Heather’s compassion and thoroughness will be helpful as you work together during discovery and to prepare for trial. Heather received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology with a minor in pre-law from Governor’s State University in 2022.  Heather is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP),  and joined our team in 2023.  

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Pamela A. Boros–Litigation Paralegal

Pamela A. Boros is a Litigation Paralegal with Sterk Family Law Group.  Pamela’s keen attention to detail and her knowledge of and experience with family law matters is a great asset to our team.  She will be working on various stages of litigation from handling discovery matters to trial preparation.   As a client, you will find comfort in speaking with Pamela as she is very personable and knowledgeable.  Pamela is a donor liaison for the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center and joined our team in 2023. 

Amy Bravo

Amy M. 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.

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Shelby N. Miller–Litigation Paralegal

Shelby N. Miller is a Litigation Paralegal with Sterk Family Law Group, P.C. Shelby’s solid background in family law paired with her exceptional discovery skills make her an asset in managing legal relationships and providing comprehensive client care.  In addition to family law, Shelby’s professional experience includes familiarity with probate law, criminal law, forfeitures, and appeals.  Shelby is working towards her bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Business Administration. Shelby is a Certified Microsoft Office Professional, a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association,  an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP), and sits on the Board of Directors for NAMI South Chicago.  She joined our team in 2023.
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Evangelina “Eva” Sekularac –Litigation Paralegal

 Evangelina “Eva” Sekularac is a litigation paralegal with whom you may have frequent contact. She processes court orders and court-related documents to clients, drafts pleadings, and relays important information such as results from Court or new case developments. She works with the various Courthouse’s docketing systems and Clerks to maintain our court schedule. Eva has over five years of experience working with litigation matters for family law and her keen attention to detail and her knowledge of and broad experience with legal matters make her a great asset to our team. Eva has her MBA in Financial Management and a bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and philosophy and a minor in economics, with a pre-law concentration.  Eva is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and joined the Sterk Family Law Group team in 2023.

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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, an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP), and joined our team in 2017. Her professional experience will be an asset while working with the team to process your case.

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Jennifer J. Hanik–Discovery Paralegal

Jen is a discovery paralegal with whom you will have frequent contact at the beginning of your case. 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, an Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP), and has worked with Sterk Family Law Group since 2011.

Marketing Team

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Kelly L. 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, Professional Women’s Network and the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce.  

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Monika L. 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 and the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce. 

Client Relations

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Alyssa A.Blando–Client Relations Lead

Alyssa is our Client Relations Lead and ensures good communication between our office and our clients. She works closely on a daily basis with Gwendolyn Sterk to ensure our office runs smoothly and efficiently.

Alyssa is usually the first person to speak with a potential new client who contacts our office, and she provides our prospective clients with honesty and guidance as they take the first step to empower themselves with options.

She fields the majority of calls coming into our office to ensure that all questions or concerns are directed to the appropriate team member. She schedules appointments and telephone conferences with clients, reviews and distributes faxes and emails, and coordinates our daily in-office schedule.

 In addition, Alyssa works with our firm’s billing and ensures that the client’s questions and concerns are addressed.  She provides a wide range of daily assistance to our clients and our entire team. Alyssa joined our team in 2016.

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.

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Linda L. Russo-Billing Coordinator

Linda 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. Linda 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 2022.

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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!