At The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., we specialize in providing legal services to our clients in all aspects of family law. Jonathan Merel, who has made his reputation as an accomplished attorney through the practice of family law, founded the firm in 2009, after practicing for many years at another Chicago family law firm. Jonathan, his associate attorneys, and the firm’s staff take great pride in affording clients the attention they deserve and obtaining the results they expect from one of the elite family law firms in the Chicagoland area. With the firm’s main office located in downtown Chicago in the prestigious 2 Prudential Plaza and a convenient suburban office location in Skokie, The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. practices in all counties within the Chicago vicinity, including but not limited to Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, and Will County.
At The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., our divorce and family lawyers believe that the best result in any family law matter is achieved through a negotiated settlement, if possible. Though divorce, custody and other family law proceedings are often adversarial in nature, we recognize that the parties must continue to engage each other long after the case is complete, especially if custody and/or support issues are involved. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and draftsmen who understand how to achieve and prepare negotiated settlements dealing with complex financial, property, custody, visitation, and support issues. Our goal is to enable the parties to move forward with their lives, carry on respectful interactions with each other, and avoid future litigation costs.
While settlement is always the preferred result in any family law proceeding, litigation is often a reality, especially in cases involving complicated financial matters and/or contested child custody and visitation issues. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. are impassioned and knowledgeable litigators, always prepared to fight in court to obtain the best results for our clients. We promote a cost-effective approach to litigation and are keenly aware of the value of each dollar to our clients. Therefore, we approach each step in the litigation process with a clear goal in mind and only utilize the courts when necessary to obtain the optimal results for our clients.
We look forward to helping you achieve your goals.
Jonathan Merel -
Jonathan Merel is an experienced attorney and litigator who advocates for his clients in all family law proceedings, including settlement negotiations and trials. Jonathan founded The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. in early 2009. Prior to starting the firm, Jonathan worked at another Chicago-based family law practice for many years.
Jonathan has a great deal of experience in obtaining favorable outcomes for his clients in multi-million dollar marital estates and contested custody suits (custody is now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities in the State of Illinois). His ability to settle heated divorces and custody disputes has gained him a great deal of respect from fellow attorneys and judges within the Chicagoland legal community. When settlement is not a viable or reasonable option, Jonathan’s experience as a zealous litigator in the courtroom has produced outstanding results for his clients.
Always committed to his clients and their causes, Jonathan’s philosophy is to build strong, trusting relationships with his clients, founded on compassion, sound legal strategy, and open and frequent communication. Known as a skillful and aggressive negotiator with strong tenacity, Jonathan has an impressive track record of protecting his clients’ best interests and helping them meet their legal goals.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1999, Jonathan received a Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2002. While at Chicago-Kent, he was on the Dean’s List and served as a law clerk at a family law firm in Chicago. This valuable, diverse, and hands-on work experience sparked Jonathan’s passion for helping others through the practice of family law.
Jonathan has provided his legal expertise to prominent national media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and NBC’s Today Show. Jonathan was selected as a Super Lawyer in Illinois for 2012, 2013 and 2015. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. To view Jonathan’s Super Lawyer online profile, click Jonathan’s name in the Super Lawyer’s icon adjacent to his profile. In 2015, Jonathan was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Family Law. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey. Over 52,000 leading attorneys cast more than 5.5 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”
Jonathan is a member of the American Bar Association American Bar Association Family Law Committee, Illinois Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, North Suburban Bar Association, and Lake County Bar Association.
Melissa Caballero -
Melissa graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (2007). She then went on to earn her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law (2010), where she was named to the Dean’s List.
Melissa clerked for Chicago-Kent’s distinguished Family Law Clinic during law school, where she worked closely with clients throughout various stages of litigation. Melissa is also a certified mediator and has used her mediation skills extensively to resolve cases in the Cook County court system, as well as issues with her clients in private practice. She has been working exclusively in the area of family law since 2008.
Melissa has worked with The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel since 2009, having worked as a law clerk prior to being admitted to the Illinois Bar. She has helped her clients solve their legal problems in all areas of domestic relations including property settlements, child custody (now known as allocation of parental responsibilities), establishing appropriate amounts of child support and maintenance, parenting time, establishing parentage, analyzing and investigating complicated financial assets and transactions, obtaining and defending orders of protection, and resolving similarly related disputes. Melissa has been licensed to practice since 2010 and is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.
Since 2014, Melissa has co-chaired the Chicago Bar Association’s Family Law Committee (Young Lawyer’s Section). Melissa additionally volunteers her time with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) and The Family Defense Center. Through CVLS, Melissa works as a pro bono child representative, representing children in child custody and parenting time disputes (now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities). With The Family Defense Center, Melissa has worked to defend parents against baseless allegations made by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.
Melissa has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2012, 2013 and 2016. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. To view Melissa’s Super Lawyers online profile, click Melissa’s name in the Super Lawyers icon adjacent to Melissa’s profile.
Stefani Radist -
Stefani received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2010 from the University of Michigan, where she studied psychology. Stefani continued on to earn her Juris Doctor, as well as a Certificate in Family Law, at DePaul University College of Law (2013).
While at DePaul, Stefani was a recipient of a family law fellowship from the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP Family Law Center. Stefani was also awarded an internship at the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian, where she assisted in the representation of children who were victims of abuse and neglect. During her final semester of law school, Stefani participated in DePaul’s Family Legal Clinic where she used her 711 law school license to represent and reach favorable outcomes for domestic relations and domestic violence clients. Stefani was awarded a CALI Award for Future Excellence for her dedicated work in the Family Legal Clinic.
Stefani joined The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. in September of 2013 after clerking for two years at another boutique family law firm in Chicago. Stefani uses her skills and experience to represent her clients in all areas of domestic relations. Stefani has successfully represented clients in matters pertaining to children such as custody and parenting time (now known as allocation of parental responsibilities), property and debt allocation, support determinations (i.e. maintenance, child support, contribution to college expenses), and orders of protection.
Stefani currently volunteers her time with The Family Defense Center. As co-chair of their Young Professionals Board, Stefani has worked to organize fundraisers and informational events for the Center. Stefani has also done pro bono work, representing parents wrongfully accused by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.
Stefani is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.
Bradley R. Kaye -
Brad received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005 from Purdue University and a Master of Arts from Columbia College Chicago in 2010. Brad then went on to earn his Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in 2014.
While at DePaul, Brad served as the President of the school’s Appellate Moot Court Society, won the school’s Honorable William J. Bauer Moot Court Competition and traveled throughout the country, placing in various competitions. In addition to oral advocacy, Brad also wrote for the school’s well-respected Business & Commercial Law Journal.
Brad found his calling in family law while utilizing his 711 license to practice law as a law student with DePaul’s Family Law Clinic representing divorce and domestic violence victims. Brad simultaneously used his 711 license to represent indigent teenagers at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office.
Brad joined The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. in 2015 after working as an associate attorney at a suburban-based family law firm.
Brad is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association and the Northwest Suburban Bar Association.
Aurelija Fitzpatrick -
Aurelija graduated from Loyola University Chicago, cum laude, in 2010, and was admitted to the bar that same year.
While in law school, Aurelija was a Civitas ChildLaw Fellow, where she focused her studies and clerkships on representing children and families. She was an Executive Editor of the Children's Legal Rights Journal, clerked at the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, and she practiced in juvenile court under a 711 license, representing children involved in the child protection and juvenile court systems.
Aurelija represents individuals in a wide range of complex domestic relations matters, including divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as "custody"), parenting time, child support, maintenance, obtaining and defending orders of protections, analysis of complicated marital estates, division of marital property, and prenuptial agreements. Aurelija believes that a large part of her job is being a problem-solver, and that the best outcomes are reached when she can collaborate with clients, including listening to her clients' concerns, managing their expectations, evaluating multiple courses of action, and ensuring that her clients have the tools they need to be successful and comfortable after litigation ends.
Aurelija also serves as a pro bono child representative through Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, representing children in high-conflict domestic relations matters.
Aurelija has written and published articles on numerous issues, including financial support, grandparents' rights, and immigration issues for unaccompanied minors. She has also given presentations on a variety of family law issues.
Aurelija practices in Cook, DuPage, Will, McHenry, and Lake Counties. She is licensed to practice in the State of Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the United States Supreme Court. Aurelija is an active member of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI), and is a co-chair of the WBAI's Domestic Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and Chicago Bar Association.
Outside of work, Aurelija is on the Chicago Public Library Foundation's Junior Board, and enjoys playing tennis, traveling, and volunteering at the Tree House Humane Society.
Education: · 2010, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., cum laude · 2007, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.A., political science and history, magna cum laude