San Mateo High Asset Divorce Lawyers

“Sometimes a good outcome is very clear – getting a restraining order against an abusive spouse, or getting spousal support against a spouse who’s hiding income. Other times, a good outcome is far more nuanced. Without fail, all of our best outcomes, our big wins, come about because only one side did the work. And a big, big part of that is deeply understanding the people involved and what makes them tick.”

Amy Laughlin

How Do You Choose The Best High Net Worth Divorce Firm To Handle Your Case?

If your assets are beyond the realm of the average divorce, your case is beyond the realm of the average divorce lawyer.

Do your research and choose a high net worth divorce lawyer with years of experience, outstanding outcomes, great client reviews, impressive case studies, a reputation for responsiveness, and an authoritative command of high finance, specifically investigating and analyzing sophisticated and complex financial assets – including business valuations, venture capital, allocation of equity interests, tax and property characterization, etc. – and their impact on spousal and child supportchild custody, move-away requests, Child Protective Services investigations and domestic violence.

Your search will lead you to Laughlin Legal Divorce & Family Law Group in San Mateo. Founder and Managing Partner, Amy Laughlin’s Big Law experience litigating complex securities and financial disputes in Silicon Valley trained her to take an exhaustive approach when investigating and dividing assets and determining support in complex divorce cases. “Nothing gets past us,” says Laughlin.

“Divorce is a family trauma,” she continues. “And I know better than most what’s at stake. So we protect every client in two very distinctive ways:

1. We are more fluent, sophisticated, and up to date in the world of complex finance than most family attorneys. Indeed, it’s our expertise.

2. Caitlin and I give clients our mobile number and take their calls at all times of the day and night because your emergency is our emergency.

Who Needs A High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer??

Caitlin Ashton, Partner at Laughlin Legal, has experience with this question. “As a high asset divorce law firm, we’re asked this question all the time: what exactly is a high net worth divorce? The quick answer is that it varies from judge to judge and county to county. The more detailed answer is: there isn’t a figure or formula. But we’ve observed that a high net worth divorce, also known as a high asset divorce, is where the married parties generally have 2 or more of the following:

– Estate assets in excess of $1M excluding real estate
– Real estate asset(s) in California, domestically, or abroad
– Various business interests or LLC interests
– Complex equity compensation such as stocks, RSUs, etc.”

Ashton continues, “We’ve also been asked: why distinguish a high net worth divorce from any other kind of divorce? And that actually is a simple answer: a high-net-worth divorce is often much more complicated, because in addition to splitting up the typical assets – bank accounts, retirement accounts, family home – you may also have foreign holdings, trusts, equity compensation, and third-party entities like business and nonprofits to split up.”

During the discovery phase of a high asset divorce, identifying the assets is just the beginning. Next couples have to determine – and agree to – an accurate valuation of marital assets. This is a point in the process at which many high net worth divorces stall.

Ashton again, “Most people don’t realize that once they are married, they have a fiduciary duty to their spouse. In other words, they have a legal responsibility to act in the best financial interest of their partner, too.

As high net worth divorce lawyers, that’s the reason we advise our clients to be rigorous in disclosing assets despite the fact that trust between the spouses is often gone. There are many different disclosure requirements, and if you’re not disclosing absolutely every interest you have, you’re perjuring yourself and damaging your credibility. Mind you, your credibility is one of your most significant assets both in and out of court. Damaged credibility can affect the outcome of your case. If you’re hiding assets and your ex finds out, that ex could be rewarded 100% of that asset even post-divorce. Better to identify all your assets and split them while you can.”

If You’re Half Of A High Net Worth Divorcing Couple Should You Expect A Custody Battle?

Caitlin Ashton of Laughlin Legal, once more, “Not necessarily. Whereas high net worth divorces are defined by the size and number of assets, a custody battle is defined by the individuals, most significantly, what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child or children.

Half of a high net worth couple is often a highly successful individual who is a narcissist or coercive control abuser; it’s far more common than in the general population. These individuals often value the perceived ‘win’ over the best interest of the kids, so litigation to settle custody alone can take years. And the other parent hangs in there to protect the children from the narcissist.”


requires the services of a divorce lawyer and addresses all the same issues as divorce regarding asset division, custody, and support, but the couple remains married though living separate and apart.

is the process of determining the status of the assets, then dividing them up equitably between the divorcing spouses. There are generally two categories of assets. Marital assets are those accumulated over the duration of the marriage.

are those acquired after the marriage but before legal separation or divorce.

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 marital. Debt, too, can be divided and shared.

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. Even recipients of spousal support have an obligation to attempt to become self-supporting within a reasonable period. This is one of the most contentious aspects of divorce and it’s essential to work with an experienced spousal support lawyer to achieve a fair resolution.

refers to the determination of how the parents divide the rights and responsibilities of taking care of their child or children. A good child custody lawyer will tell you there are two types of custody, legal and physical, and advise you on the best options for gaining or retaining custody of your child or children. The legal custodian makes important decisions for the children and their welfare. The physical custodian lives with the children more than 50% of the time.

in California is calculated using a statutory or guideline formula that considers parents’ gross income from all sources, number of children, amount of time children spend with each parent, tax filing status, and special needs of the children. When a parent refuses to pay child support, a child support lawyer either seeks an order for child support or holds the ex-spouse legally responsible for inadequate or missing payments.

are orders issued by the court – such as temporary child custody orders or temporary spousal support orders – before the case goes to trial to establish boundaries and maintain the family’s status quo until a final divorce and/or custody agreement is entered and approved by the court.

couples have the same divorce rights as any couple, and there may be special considerations with parental and property rights.

though prevalent, is often difficult to prove in part because abusers can be stealthy but also because physical violence is just one of many forms. For instance, it’s challenging to prove verbal abuse without witnesses. It’s essential that victims of abuse work with an experienced domestic violence lawyer successful at obtaining restraining orders.

How Common Is A Custody Battle In High Asset Divorces?

Caitlin Ashton continues, “Very common. In high asset divorces, the only fight as common as a custody battle is the battle over possession of the family home. Since the children almost invariably prefer to live there, in many cases, getting the home is de facto getting the kids.”

What Does ‘responsive’ Mean In The Context Of A High Asset Divorce Law Firm?

“For us, it’s defining,” explains Caitlin Ashton of Laughlin Legal. “We’re super responsive. For example, I just did a settlement proposal Saturday morning. Not unusual. There are a lot of moving parts for our clients, and that’s when it had to be done. You won’t see many attorneys being immediately responsive to clients. We’re super on the ball. Even when we’re traveling, you’ll get a response from the team.”

Looking For Help With A Custody Battle Or High Net Worth Divorce? Let’s Talk.

Learn more about what a San Mateo high-asset divorce attorney can do for you. Call us now at 650.343.3486 to schedule your first consultation with us. If you’d prefer, you can email us to set up your appointment. If we miss your call, we will respond promptly and call you back as soon as possible.

Laughlin Legal Family Law Group
You’ve never been better protected.

Case Story

A Complex Divorce Client In Their Own Words

“Found them on Google search. I interviewed other attorneys. It’s an important decision and my case was complicated enough that I wasn’t going to just go off a website. I chose them for a couple reasons. I was ideally interested in someone whose offices were fairly local, didn’t want to go up to San Francisco. Also, I had a lot to sort through financially and saw that Amy was experienced with complex divorce. She impressed me with the range of cases she worked on, I felt she ‘got’ my situation. And it was a positive that she was a woman. A woman’s perspective and the perception of my then-partner would be a plus.

The experience surpassed my expectations. It was mediated so we managed to stay out of court. Amy provided really good counsel. I felt confident in her expertise. She was aggressive when needed and flexible when needed. I felt a high level of competence. Their working style was very important to me. Other thing, too, I only half joke about this but being a family law attorney is also part therapist, the ability to help me be centered throughout the process was important.

Their team approach was important. Both good thought partners and that’s important for me. I don’t just outsource stuff, I like to think things through. Not all attorneys like that. Caitlin was able to step in and help out on a couple of issues. I used Caitlin for the prenup because she’s really good. She did a really good job.

Responsiveness is key. Other attorneys I’ve worked with have hard boundaries – after 5 or on the weekends? Not available. When Amy was on vacation she still called in. That was great. And Caitlin made herself available nights, weekends, and I really appreciated that.

These cases can be frustrating. They helped me successfully navigate two fairly tricky marital situations, divorce and prenup, neither of which was easy and do it in a way that got good solutions. They did a great job.

Flexible, responsive. Put in a good fight. Focused on trying to get things done. Not trying to run up the fees. I’ve recommended them.”


Next Step

Choose a lawyer you can trust and book a consultation.

Let’s talk about your divorce. How can we help?

If you’re looking for an accomplished complex divorce lawyer, child custody lawyer, child support lawyer, spousal support lawyer, domestic violence lawyer or adoption lawyer, we can help.

Let’s get started.

about Divorce & Family Law

Want some of the best legal advice you can get from one of the best divorce lawyers and child custody lawyers around? Want it for FREE? Every first Tuesday of the month at 12pm pst, Founder & Partner Amy Laughlin meets with Laughlin Legal clients on a group zoom call for 60 minutes to answer questions and offer FREE advice. If you’re currently a client, click HERE to reserve your spot!

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.

You have rights.

Let’s talk about your options.

Schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.

LAUGHLIN LEGAL Divorce & Family Law Group   650.343.3486   info@LaughlinLegal.com
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