For Better or For Worse
John A. Zurzola of Weber Gallagher’s Family Law Group leads clients through divorces, custody battles, and other personally traumatic events, and delivers them safely to the other side.
by Pete Croatto

Enduring a prolonged custody battle, a complex high-net-worth divorce, or some other aspect of family law is anything but a passing inconvenience or a bump in the road. After all, the outcome can have long-lasting effects that touch every aspect of an individual’s life. 
That’s why an attorney who has been there before and will stay by their side no matter what—someone like John A. Zurzola, who represents one-fourth of the Family Law Group of Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, based in Norristown—is indispensable. 
“This is all we do,” says Zurzola, who started at Weber Gallagher in 2016. “It’s really important to hire a lawyer who’s been doing this a long time, who has seen most of the scenarios that are going to come up. It’s also important to have an attorney who is experienced in practicing in all of the courts in the five-county Philadelphia area.” 
Since the Family Law Group was established at Weber Gallagher in 2009, the firm has been helping clients through every aspect of family law: divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support, domestic violence, and spousal support, and custody cases. Each member of the practice has earned the distinction of being a leader in the field. Zurzola has practiced law for nearly 20 years. Carolyn R. Mirabile is president of the Montgomery Bar Association. Lawrence J. (“Skip”) Persick, who joined Weber Gallagher late last year, has practiced in Chester County for 25 years. Donna Marcus is a former district attorney for Philadelphia. Their services are available throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area, from the city to the suburbs.
Regardless of location, a divorce has the potential to be a traumatic experience across several fronts. If a divorcing couple has young children, for example, the former spouses will need to co-parent until the children turn 18—and possibly beyond. There can also be scheduling conflicts, as well as myriad future payments to consider, including tuition and extracurricular activities. As a result, financial compensation is often a major factor and a crucial example of why hiring an experienced attorney matters. 
“It is the difference between you being able to continue your post-divorce life with the income and the assets that you need in order to start over and potentially not getting what you’re supposed to get,” he says. “There are cases involving business owners where we may discover hidden assets or undervalued assets, like real estate. Then, of course, when you’re talking about alimony, that could literally be the difference between you living off the assets that you were awarded in the divorce and going broke, or it could be what gets you through the next phase in your life.” 

Bringing Resources to Bear
Aside from the legal expertise, Zurzola and his colleagues have an array of allies to assist their clients—psychologists, accountants, private investigators, financial advisors, and real estate professionals, to name a few. 
“We bring our resources to bear on every case,” he says, “so that people know they’ve gotten all that they could.” 
Zurzola has a particularly useful skill set. He received his Juris Doctor from the Widener University School of Law in 1999, and he also has an M.B.A. from St. Joseph’s University. The latter comes in handy when complex financial issues arise in his high-net-worth cases. 
Of course, every case requires not only courtroom experience but also tremendous compassion. 
“When we receive new clients, they’re usually not at their best,” Zurzola says. “We take extra time in order to let them know that we know they don’t want to be here, and this is something they may not want to be involved in. But there are certain things they need to do to protect themselves. We take a lot of time explaining the process to people and what they can reasonably expect, no matter what area of family law that their case involves. It’s really important to treat each client differently in terms of where they are emotionally and where they are procedurally in the process.”  
If a case takes a contentious turn—accusations of domestic abuse, for example—a skilled attorney becomes an irreplaceable ally. 
“They could be married for five years or they could be married for 25 years, and the case can take the form that the soon-to-be-former spouses are enemies now,” Zurzola says. “If the case goes that way, we become the only thing that they have. Family can’t really help them. We are their one advocate in order to get them into the next phase of their life, when they have to actually battle this other person they’ve known, who was at one point the most important person in their life.”  
To most people who know him apart from his profession, Zurzola seems affable and empathetic. While both descriptors would apply, he has earned a reputation as a “bulldog” in the courtroom. 
“You have to be disposed to this kind of work,” he explains. “There are going to be situations when you need to stand up for your clients, when the other side is being just as aggressive. There is someone out there trying to make things difficult for them. Some people don’t have their own voice or can’t find their own voice, let alone being experienced in all the complex procedures having to do with navigating the court system. That’s where we come in. Sometimes you need to take up your client’s situation like it was your own.” 
When someone is going through a divorce, a custody dispute, or some other delicate family law matter, people often face complicated issues with which they never imagined they would have to contend. At the same time, life doesn’t stop. That’s why it’s so important to have a seasoned attorney such as Zurzola or one of his colleagues from Weber Gallagher by your side throughout—for better or for worse. 

The Family Law Group of Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP
One Montgomery Plaza
425 Swede Street, Suite 1001
Norristown, Pa.
(610) 272-5555

Photograph by Jody Robinson

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, November 2019.