About Us

At Rise From The Ashes, we strive to assist financially struggling women who are leaving an abusive relationship with civil legal matters such as divorce and custody. It does not matter how many times a woman tries to leave an abusive relationship, if she can’t afford to get a divorce, she will never truly be free. To make matters worse, if she can’t afford an attorney to assist her in the custody issues of her children, she will likely set aside concerns of her own personal safety, and choose to re enter the abusive relationship for fear of leaving her children alone with the abuser. Abused women are, for all intents and purposes, hostages in these situations – not only to her abuser, but to the legal system as well.

Who Is RFTA

Our Company Mission
The RFTA Philosophy

Meet Our Team

Founder
FounderFounder
This organization was founded by a woman who was unable to free herself from the legal ties that bound her to her abuser. She firmly believes every woman has the right to be free of an abusive relationship and that no woman should remain trapped due to her inability to afford representation.
Michael A. Biederstadt, J.D.
Michael A. Biederstadt, J.D.Founding Member
Graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2004 and received his B.S. in Criminal Justice and General Business Administration. Juris Doctorate earned from Valparaiso School of Law in 2006. Mr. Biederstadt is currently an attorney at Biederstadt Law PC in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, and his practice has been exclusively concentrated on domestic relations and domestic violence for the duration of his career in the greater Chicagoland area.
Dr. Greg Oswald
Dr. Greg OswaldFounding Member, Psychologist
Dr. Greg Oswald is a graduate of Indiana University where he earned a B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice and he earned an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lewis University and an additional M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Midwestern University as well as a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Midwestern University. Greg is passionate about serving the community, reducing human suffering, and promoting valued living.
Emily Shaughnessy
Emily ShaughnessyBoard Member, Attorney
Emily Shaughnessy is an attorney practicing family law in the south and southwest suburbs, as one of the founding partners of Schatz & Shaughnessy, PC.  She graduated cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2007 with a pro bono notation and was an active member of the Civil Litigation Clinic.  She received a BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003 during which time she worked with the Child Assault Prevention Project and volunteered as a mentor.  Her practice is focused on families and, in particular, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.  She is frequently appointed by the Court to serve as a Guardian ad Litem advocating for the best interests of children as well as a mediator working with parents in both divorce and parentage cases.  Ms. Shaughnessy is a member of the Will County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Jamie Mosser
Jamie MosserBoard Member, Attorney
Jamie L. Mosser graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelors in political science.  She then attended law school at the College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Criminal Law in 2002.  Upon graduation, she moved to New Orleans, LA where she took and passed the Louisiana Bar.  She then obtained her first legal job as an Assistant District Attorney at the Orleans Parrish District Attorney’s Office.  While in New Orleans, she prosecuted crimes in the juvenile and adult divisions.  Those crimes ranged from simple possession of cannabis to homicide.  In 2005, she moved back home to Illinois where she took and passed the Illinois Bar.  In November of 2005, she accepted a job at the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor.  She began her career in the Domestic Violence Unit.  Over the years, she was assigned to several different units including DUI, Drug Rehabilitative Court, Felony, and Special Prosecution (arson and auto theft).  In October of 2009, she was made the head of the Domestic Violence Unit where she prosecuted misdemeanor and Felony crimes of Domestic Violence.  She also supervised several attorneys in that unit.  In October of 2010, she was given the Partner in Peace Award by the Community Crisis Center.  In May of 2015, she left her job as a prosecutor to open up a law partnership with a friend and colleague, Kimberley Crum Klein.  Currently, she takes a variety of cases including family, criminal, real estate, and simple wills.  She maintains her commitment to helping victims in the Domestic Violence Community by providing free or reduced legal services and by being a board member for Mutual Ground, a local domestic violence shelter.
Dr. Jeffrey Neumann
Dr. Jeffrey NeumannBoard Member, Doctor of Chiropractic
Dr. Jeffrey Neumann is a doctor of chiropractic at Nu Life Energy Chiropractic in Plainfield. Active in his community and with a passion to help people live their best lives, Dr. Neumann truly believes that in order to have a healthy future, safety is a priority. “At Nu Life Energy Chiropractic, I believe that the health and safety of our patients extends beyond the doors of our building and into the lives of our community members.”
Bernadette Barrett
Bernadette BarrettBoard Member, Attorney
Bernadette Barrett is an attorney and certified mediator. She has been a partner at Barrett & Sramek Law Office in Palos Heights since 1990. She is highly skilled in Family Law, Mediation, Legal Research, Legal Writing, and Litigation. Bernadette graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1991 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in Political Science and Government. Her practice is focused on family law, divorce, custody and mediation.
Kristen Lesh
Kristen LeshBoard Member, Treasurer
Kristen Lesh is a licensed real estate agent and broker with Platinum Partners Realtors in Downers Grove. She obtained her brokerage license in 2012 and has been working in real estate for the last 6 years. She is a Member of the National Association of Realtors, Illinois Association of Realtors, the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, and an active Member of the Downers Grove Chamber of Commerce.
Edgar Navarro
Edgar NavarroBoard Member, Financial
Edgar Navarro is a branch manager at First Midwest Bank and has been in the banking industry since 2005. He graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Business Administration and Management. Edgar spends much of his free time volunteering, including the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry. He has been a Member of the Board of Directors since 2015 at Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Edgar is fully bilingual, with Spanish fluency in speaking, reading, and writing.