Attorneys at Law                                           


​  ​​Hyden Zakheim, LLP

Providing effective representation locally, since 1991.


With the possible exception of death in the family, there is nothing more stressful than participating in the process of ending a marriage. In addition to the emotional difficulties associated with a divorce, the legal world is circumscribed with procedural difficulties which can exacerbate stress levels even further. At Hyden-Zakheim we understand if you are seeking our help, our legal services must be offered with a level of compassion and empathy.

The word “divorce” or “dissolution of marriage” means the legal termination of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Legally, this relates to the status of marriage only. But from our clients’ point of view, it deals with issues specific to their case such as child custody, child support, spousal support, division of assets and much more.

California law subscribes to the concept of “no fault divorce.” As such, unless the other party suffers from incurable insanity, the remainder of all other divorces end due to irreconcilable differences. (Incurable insanity is defined by CA Family Code 2310 (b)) Yet “irreconcilable differences” is rarely the way parties see their dissolution. The bottom line is that divorce is painful and does not easily meld with the clinical legal approach.

Whether your goal is to settle the process amicably, pursue mediation or strenuously litigate the issues, our goal is to accomplish the divorce process in a way which matches your desires and unique circumstances. Some issues to consider:

Is your approach adversarial or collaborative? The more you and your spouse are able to agree upon, the less you will likely spend on attorneys, legal fees and court costs. In addition, the more agreements about custody and visitation, the emotional toll extracted by the process will be greatly reduced. Even if you cannot agree on everything, your attorney can work with the opposing counsel to help the parties reach agreements through negotiation and mediation rather than litigation.

Will you battle over custody of the children? These are the most bitter and difficult battles. If there is any opportunity to negotiate an agreement, take that first step now. Your children and family will win in the end. Studies have shown children whose parents have been able to peacefully negotiate custody and visitation arrangements, recover from the stress of divorce much faster than those ensconced in bitter, long litigation.

What are my marital assets and debts? Attorneys usually start by characterizing the assets and debts. Which assets and debts are “community” and which are “separate?” Once the character is determined, the general presumption is that community assets are divided equally, while the separate property belongs completely to one party.

What are the strategies of the attorneys? You entered into the marriage as two: Husband and Wife. Yet there are at least five people in the divorce process: the spouses, their respective attorneys and the judge. There may be even more if experts such as financial specialists or custody evaluators are used. Personalities play a significant part in your case. If you or your spouse hire an attorney who believes the only way to “win” is to become aggressive or adversarial, you may end up paying for that approach. Keep in mind you have a great deal of say as to how your attorney handles your case. Your attorney’s goal should be to fight for your rights in a reasonable and effective manner.