Asset Division

San Mateo Asset Division Attorneys

“Assets are like a big bowl of fruit, they’re not all the same. Some have different tax bases, different long term implications. It’s all about the details especially in complex cases. And until we understand exactly what the assets are, you can’t begin to divide them. It’s very painstaking work to make sure you’ve turned over every stone. If there isn’t full transparency, bring in the forensic accountants. We work with the best. We’ve had great results when there was significant resistance to providing information.”

Amy Laughlin

It may feel like it’s a fight about today, but asset division is about protecting tomorrow.

California is one of just nine states that operates on the community property principle when it comes to asset division: each spouse is entitled to half the marital property unless there’s a signed settlement agreement to the contrary. 50/50. Sounds simple. The two biggest challenges are identifying what qualifies as community property, then accurately assessing the value of that property. And 50/50 does not necessarily mean each partner gets 50% of each asset. How assiduously your complex asset division lawyer pursues your best interest every step of the way can profoundly affect your future financial security. 

Generally, the greater the asset complexity, the longer asset division takes.

Like complex divorce, complex asset division involves a high net worth couple,  two people whose income and assets are substantially higher than the average married couple’s. And dividing them up equally between the divorcing spouses can take significantly longer. Any one of the assets they might jointly possess can take an inestimable amount of time to value and divide – trusts, classic vehicles, art, intellectual property, offshore accounts, royalties, deferred compensation, pensions, crypto assets, executive bonuses, not to mention businesses and real estate assets located in multiple countries, multiple jurisdictions. 

And those are just the assets you may know about! Hidden assets can pose another level of complexity. In a recent study, 35% of spouses reported committing financial infidelity.* 

Let’s safeguard your future.

Divorce and complex divorce call for a highly skilled complex asset division lawyer who’s part sleuth, part CPA, and a steely negotiator with a deep reservoir of financial knowledge and financial litigation to draw upon. That’s Laughlin Legal. Whenever possible we seek common sense solutions, but we have an excellent record of fighting aggressively in court when necessary.


There are generally two categories of assets. Community assets are those accumulated over the duration of the marriage. Separate property assets are gifts or inheritances, or assets acquired either before the marriage or after legal separation. Be warned: assets aren’t the only thing considered to be community property. Debt, too, can be divided and shared.

refers to a divorce involving a couple whose income and assets are substantially higher than average. As a result, there’s more to discover, untangle and divide.

is the process of determining the status of the various assets, then dividing them up equitably between the divorcing spouses. Complex property issues can include determining how marital debt or business assets will be divided, disagreements over real estate ownership, distinguishing the difference between separate and marital property, and more.

If both parties started a business together, they’re both entitled to a share of the assets as well as a share of the debt arising from that business. If one partner wants to retain the business, the value of the business must be determined by an impartial outside resource, and the partner will have to buy out the other.

are assets a spouse tries to hide by offering false, misleading, or incomplete information during the discovery phase of divorce.

is legalese for wasting money so you don’t have to split it with your spouse.

can be a significant consideration when determining asset division. For instance, claiming children as dependents, or capital gains tax from selling a property.

formerly known as alimony, is what one spouse may be ordered to pay to the other spouse. This is often one of the most contentious aspects of divorce. Working with an attorney experienced in asset and business division is critical to achieving a good outcome.

Case Story

A Complex Asset & Business Division Client In Their Own Words

“I’ve been a client of Laughlin Legal and am impressed with the guidance and responsiveness of Amy and the team. They are wonderful to work with which greatly eases the anxiety of dealing with certain family law matters. The legal team at Laughlin helped me strategize on what was appropriate for my personal situation and then we set about executing that strategy.”

ROGER SMITH, Founder, Silicon Valley Bank

Next Step

Book a consultation.

Let’s talk about your asset and business division needs. We can help you determine if your spouse may have been hiding assets.

If you’re looking for some of the best asset division lawyers in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, let’s talk. Call us at 650.343.3486 or email us here.

Let’s get started.

The FOREFRONT A divorce & family law blog

Think About It: Is It Really So Strange To Have A Transactional Real Estate Lawyer At A Family Law Firm? We find it

You’re in luck because you’re in California, a community property state. And that makes the division of assets simple in that everything acquired

Amy Laughlin, a divorce and child custody lawyer in San Mateo, knows better than most what’s at stake for the children of divorcing parents.