Melissa Fernandez 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.

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 make her a compelling advocate in pleadings.

Before joining Antoniolli, Cerny & Winthers, P.C. Melissa worked at a mid-sized family law firm in Wheaton, Illinois as an associate attorney where she gained extensive knowledge and experience working on a diverse range of family law cases. There, she was able to refine her skills of negotiation and litigation to be an effective advocate for her clients. Melissa is also a certified Guardian ad Litem in DuPage County, Illinois. Melissa has an empathetic approach to her cases, coupled with a strategic mindset to consistently deliver results that honor the best interests of her clients and their families.

Practice Areas

  • Divorce (Pre and Post decree matters)
  • Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (formerly custody)
  • Parenting Time (formerly visitation)
  • Parentage
  • Child Support
  • Maintenance
  • Domestic Violence/Orders of Protection
  • Adoptions
  • Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements
  • Embryo/Egg Donor Agreements
  • Name Changes
  • Probate
  • Estate Planning

Awards & Memberships

  • Super Lawyers Rising Star 2022-2024
  • DuPage County Bar Association

Published Works

  • “Using Counseling in Litigation: The Implications of Section 607.6 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act,” DCBA Brief, 2020
  • “The Uncertainty of Relocation – Where Are We Going?” DCBA Brief, 2021

Prior Employment

McSwain, Nagle, Giese & Rapp, P.C., 2019-2024

  • Associate Attorney

The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., 2018-2019

  • Law Clerk

Circuit Court of Cook County, Judicial Extern, 2018

  • Judicial Extern

Legal Aid Society Metropolitan Family Services, 2017

  • Law Clerk


  • DePaul University College of Law - J.D. - 2019
  • DePaul University - B.A. English with a minor in Political Science - 2015


Integrity, knowledge, and experience. Highly recommend Axel Cerny!

Sophia Markopoulos Whalen

Axel Cerny is a polished professional and a great communicator. He walked with my wife and I through every step of the legal services he provided to us. Highly recommend.

Ian McGregor

Worked with Axel Cerny and team to get my first house. They did a great job helping me through the processes and guiding me through close. Would highly recommend!

Dan May

Axel Cerny was able to help with a real estate matter quickly and efficiently. His guidance through the matter was excellent and the results were exactly what we needed.

Jason Tartaglia

It's been about a year now since the first time I looked to Mullen and Winthers for legal advice. They are timely, clear, and thorough. As a result, they have very quickly earned my respect and future business.

Erik Russo

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