Irreconcilable differences are the most commonly stated reason for divorce on the petition for dissolution of marriage but the real reasons for divorce and the feelings they generate drive litigation, increase attorney fees, lead to impasse, and cause prolonged exposure to stress for children. If you have to litigate your divorce, choose an attorney who will not add fuel to the fire. If you can mediate, choose a mediator experienced in family law, as well as, mediation techniques. 


Mediation is the solution when it comes to divorce. You decide on the outcome. You are in control over the cost and duration. If communication with your spouse is impossible and the marital conflict is mounting, give mediation a chance anyway. With the help of a certified mediator, you can see the issues from a different perspective; you can accept new solutions; and even work towards forgiveness and letting go so you can move on. 

Child Custody 

Children are the most important part of a divorce. Divorcing couples have to make decisions about where the child(ren) will live after the parties separate, where they will attend school, who will be responsible for school drop off/pick up, who will make decisions about their education, health, religious upbringing, etc. We help you decide on an appropriate timeshare (parenting time) to meet your child's needs for frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Click here to learn more about child custody. Whether you litigate or mediate your custody case, we can help you come to an agreement. Call us at 562-426-6522 or go to "Contact Us" to talk to our experienced attorneys about your children.






Zwierzchowski & Nguyen-Family Law and Mediation

Child and Spousal Support

Child/Spousal Support-The preservation of cash flow in a divorce or separation is key to maintaining as much of your lifestyle as possible. We understand the need to establish both child and spousal support early on in a case. We represent clients in both temporary and permanent support requests. Courts use DissoMaster software to determine child support, which among other factors, if mainly dependent on timeshare and income. 

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Division of Assets and Debts

For most divorcing couples, division of assets usually means either selling their family home or buying out the other spouse's interest in the home. The court has no discretion to order a buy-out, so unless you agree, the home may have to be ordered sold. In some cases, it is possible to argue for deferred sale of the house for the benefit of the children. In many divorces, issues of Moore/Marsden interest, reimbursements of separate property contributions and others have to be determined as well. Another biggie in most divorces is division of retirement accounts. 


Attorney Fees 

It is vital to ensure adequate access to funds for an attorney. In litigation, Family Code section 2030 and 2032 are statutes governing attorney fees awards and are grounded in "need"/"ability to pay." Family Code section 271 gives the court the ability to order attorney fees as sanctions for uncooperative conduct frustrating settlement, for example. The concept behind attorney fees awards is to equalize the powers to ensure equal access to attorneys by both sides.


The law of prenups is governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), as well as, general contract law. A prenup can affect future spouses' rights to property and spousal support. However, parties generally cannot include terms that will take away the courts ability to make decisions in the best interest of a child. A post-nuptial agreement is a contract entered into between the spouses after marriage. These agreements can address issues of property ownership, division and support. Courts pay close attention to both of these contracts before enforcing them so special care is needed. 


Legal Separation/Annulment

Divorce is not the only option for people who cannot make their marriage work. Legal separation allows the parties to stay legally married and yet divide their assets, decide on child custody and parenting plans, set support, and include all other issues. Some couples decide to stay legally married for purposes of benefits such as health insurance, retirement, etc. Others hope for reconciliation. Annulments, on the other hand, make the marriage null and void in cases of fraud or duress. 


Domestic Violence 

We represent clients who wish to obtain domestic violence restraining orders and those who have been wrongly accused of committing domestic violence.  Abuse, whether physical or emotional, is devastating. If it occurs in the context of a divorce or parentage action, it may have severe consequences for your custody and visitation rights. Family Code section 3011 creates a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical and legal custody to a perpetrator of DV is detrimental to the best interest of the child

Same-Sex Dissolution/Parentage 

The law applies equally to same-sex parents if the child was born during a domestic partnership or marriage. During a divorce or termination of domestic partnership, however, same-sex couples often have unique problems associated with biological vs. non-biological connection to the child. In a parentage case between non-marital/non-DP parties, the dynamic of bio/non-bio becomes the crux of the dispute with parties using that factor as a litigation tool. We litigate complex same-same cases, as well as, mediate them. 

Gray Divorce

Many couples in their "golden" years decide to part ways. It is one section of the population with increasing divorce rates. There are several gray divorce specific pitfalls to be aware of. Retirement, health insurance, long-term care costs, support are vital for couples who have decided to split later in life. Mediation is the way to go in these cases. The outcomes are usually much better for both spouses; and their dignity is preserved. 

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Grandparent Visitation Rights

Under California law, the court has the ability to award grandparents reasonable visitation with their grandchildren if they can establish a pre-existing relationship that has engendered a bond (i.e. that is in the best interest of the child to continue the relationship). Generally, the parents must not be married and living together unless one of the parents joins the request. It is best if these cases are meditated to focus on resolving the underlying conflict and start a healing process. 

Family Formation 

You can take many paths to form a family. We draft sperm donor agreements, ovum donation agreements, and gestational surrogacy contracts. Once your family has been created, we can assist you in protecting it through stepparent adoptions (if the child was born during marriage or domestic partnership streamline adoption process is in place without home studies and court hearings), judgments of parentage or other forms of adoptions. Forming and protecting a family is a beautiful thing. While you focus on your family, we ensure the protection of your legal rights. 


Military Divorce 

Military divorce has its own particular challenges. Although the general procedure is the same as for civilians, there are some differences starting from service of papers on a deployed spouse to delays made possible by the  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The military benefits and retirement division require understanding and expertise. We have handled numerous military divorces with complex issues of PTSD, serial deployments, etc.