Get to Know Shay Formanek


Shay Formanek joined Stern Perkoski Mendez as a partner in July 2023. She has exclusively practiced divorce and family law for more than 10 years. Shay believes in building personalized relationships with each client, and she brings a strategic mindset and empathetic approach to each of her cases.

We’re thrilled to have Shay’s experience, talents and energy as part of our team! Learn more about her in the interview below.

Question: In which areas of divorce and family law do you specialize?

Shay: I enjoy taking on all aspects of divorce and family law. My background includes supporting individuals and families facing complex financial and asset issues, spousal maintenance and child support, domestic violence, and child-related issues including allocation of parental responsibilities and relocation.

A major part of my role is advocating alongside my clients during difficult times—nothing is more important than helping a client find their voice.

Question: What inspired you to become a divorce and family law attorney?

Shay: When I was young, my parents got divorced. This personal experience allows me to better relate to my clients, and it fuels my commitment to prioritize the health and well-being of children.

The best thing my mother ever did for me—which I stress to my clients—is that she never said one negative thing about my father to me. Their divorce stayed between them, and my mom always encouraged my relationship with my dad.

I’ve seen the traumatic impact divorce can have on kids, especially when parents use their child a litigation tool. Many adults have a hard time understanding and navigating the emotions and changes that come with divorce, so it’s not fair to expect a child to navigate these complex situations too. I aim to support all my clients in maintaining a healthy, loving environment for their children throughout the divorce.

Question: Do any of your career experiences stand out from the rest?

Shay: I am grateful to have a career I find rewarding. Some of my favorite experiences include helping protect clients and children from domestic violence and building longstanding relationships and friendships with my clients. I also enjoy mentoring younger attorneys. Not only is there a lot to learn when practicing divorce and family law, but also there are a lot of adjacent subject matters we need to understand as well, like real estate, tax and financials.

It can be hard to come into this career without life or case experience, so I love when I can help younger attorneys learn in a way that’s meaningful to them—and that’s not convoluted or too technical. If they are new to things like “What does refinancing mean?” or “What does it mean to quick claim deed a house?”, they aren’t alone.

I take a similar communication style with my clients. I never want one of my clients to be in a situation where they are agreeing to or signing something they don’t understand. I make sure we discuss all case matters in a detailed way that makes sense to them, and I talk with my clients—not at them.

Question: What is something you want your clients to know?

Shay: I want my clients to trust in the relationship that we build together. The minute we begin working together, I’m a part of their support system. I always look out for their best interests.

I also encourage flexibility. Cases are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. We have to build the appropriate strategy and it’s a moving target—what’s extremely litigious isn’t always the best way forward, and the best way forward today may not be the same next week. My practice style adapts to fit the best strategy at any given time as well.

Question: What do you look forward to most when it comes to joining the Stern Perkoski Mendez team?

Shay: I am excited to join this team of attorneys! Everyone is knowledgeable and skilled, but also incredibly friendly and personable. It’s really an excellent group to work with, and I know we can all learn from each other. I look forward to building new relationships with clients and providing compassionate guidance that leads to successful resolutions.

Question: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Shay: I am a big animal lover and the proud mom to Bruce Wayne, my English Mastiff. I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling and being outdoors. Some of my favorite activities include evening jogs, hobby farming and working in my vegetable garden.

Shay is accepting new clients for divorce and family law cases. If you’d like to work with her, please request a free consultation or call (847) 868-9584. Shay can meet you at our offices in Evanston, Chicago, Lake Forest or Oak Brook, or a location that’s convenient for you.

Work With Shay

For a free consultation, call Stern Perkoski Mendez at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.