Melissa L. Fernandez (Marin)


Melissa Fernandez (Marin) graduated from DePaul University in 2015 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Political Science. Melissa went on to receive her law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 2019 with a certificate in Family Law where she graduated Cum Laude and maintained herself on the Dean's list for all three years.

From a very young age, Melissa knew that she was passionate about family law. As a child of divorced parents, Melissa brings a unique perspective to the firm having experienced the breakdown of her family at a young age. Melissa prides herself on being able to help families who are going through the same thing as well as counsel and advise clients during the other often difficult and emotional issues associated with family law.

She carried her passion for family law with her to law school where she was heavily involved in DePaul's family law program. Upon acceptance to DePaul, Melissa received a Dean's scholarship to help fund her law school education for her outstanding academic performance in undergrad. At DePaul, Melissa was selected to be a Family Law fellow after being awarded the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Scholarship. She also served as Vice President for the Child and Family Law Association and was awarded two CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for receiving the highest grade in both her Family Law legal drafting and Legal Analysis Research and Communication classes. During law school, Melissa recognized that being an effective advocate for her clients would require her to be well versed in the rules of civil procedure, the rules of evidence, and courtroom procedure. As a result, Melissa competed as a member of DePaul's Appellate Moot Court team where she displayed a passion for litigation and skill in oral advocacy.

Melissa began her legal career as an intern at the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago working with clients who were victims of domestic violence. There, she gained extensive experience working with complex financial and interpersonal matters. She then served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Judge Raul Vega in the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she assisted Judge Vega in conducting legal research, writing court orders, and assisting pro se litigants. These experiences allowed Melissa to hone her research and writing skills, which have made her an effective advocate in pleadings.

Before joining McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C., Melissa worked at a mid-sized family law firm in Wheaton, Illinois as an associate attorney where she gained experience working with pre decree, post decree, parentage, and child support cases. Melissa is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Kane County Bar Association, and the DuPage County Bar Association.

Practice Areas


Juris Doctor, DePaul University College of Law, 2019

  • Certificate in Family Law
  • Honors: Dean's list, CALI Excellence for the Future Award: Legal Analysis Research and Communication & Family Law Legal Drafting
  • Appellate Moot Court Member
  • Former Vice President of Child and Family Law Association
  • Schiller DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Fellow

Bachelor of Arts, DePaul University, 2015

  • Major: English
  • Minor: Political Science
  • Honors: Dean's List

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

  • State of Illinois, 2019

Published Works

  • “The Uncertainty of Relocation – Where are we going?," DCBA Brief, 2021
  • "Using Counseling in Litigation: The Implications of Section 607.6 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act," DCBA Brief, 2020

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2022

Employment History

Kollias & Giese, P.C.

  • Associate Attorney, 2019-2020

The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.

  • Law Clerk, 2018-2019

Circuit Court of Cook County

  • Judicial Extern, 2018

Legal Aid Society Metropolitan Family Services

  • Law Clerk, 2017
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