Raquel has more than two decades of experience in family law. She focuses her practice exclusively on complex family law matters and counsels clients through transitions from beginning to end. She negotiates and drafts co-habitation, premarital (prenups), post-nuptial and legal separation and dissolution agreements for marriages as well as for domestic partners and same-sex partners, and also advises on disputes following a death in the family. Certified as a Family Law Specialist by the California State Bar’s Board of Specialization, Raquel is recognized for her skill in guiding clients through high-asset dissolutions involving questions of complex valuation, income determination and asset division.

Raquel has grown and shaped her practice to proactively represent clients in a number of forums and through a variety of procedures, negotiating highly confidential agreements and contested matters before private and public adjudicators. With a keen focus on the nuanced issues relating to child custody, she assists parents, children and families through difficult transitions. Her experience extends to negotiating and litigating spousal and child support and child custody issues as well as handling domestic violence proceedings, paternity counseling, mediation and related litigation. She has also acted in mediation and other neutral work as a consulting attorney, mediator, special master and private judge.

Experienced with appeals, Raquel has negotiated and litigated a variety of matters including jurisdictional disputes, conflict of laws and the interplay of family law and probate law, among others. She has litigated and settled appeals on a wide range of family law issues. Her practice includes international cases both in Europe and Asia.

In handling family law matters, Raquel taps her deep set of skills within the areas of tax, transactions, international matters, immigration, startups, complex compensation, corporate structures and trusts and estates. She understands how to evaluate multifaceted business and personal financial matters and comprehensively address a range of complex issues involving residential and commercial real estate, private equity and hedge funds, stock options, limited partnerships and privately held businesses. Her client base includes business owners as well as those with legacy wealth or careers focused on raising children or supporting a family at home. She has represented individuals, families and entities (corporations, hedge funds, partnerships, closely held companies) facing the most complex family law matters and seeks to ensure that her clients maintain their integrity and focus in what can be one of the most challenging areas of the law.

Before Fox Rothschild

Raquel was the Founder and Managing Partner of Apex Family Law, which merged with Fox Rothschild in 2018. 

Prior to founding Apex Family Law, Raquel led the family law practice at Sideman & Bancroft, which USA Today voted as the Best Family Law Firm in San Francisco in 2010 during her management of the practice. Before that she was a partner at Folger, Levin & Kahn LLP in San Francisco, where she founded the family law practice. After graduation, she practiced in Latham & Watkins’ Los Angeles office as an attorney focusing on tax and litigation.

While in law school, Raquel was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau representing indigent clients exclusively in family law matters. In that role she acted both as an advocate and teacher working with clients in their pro se divorce clinic to teach clients to help themselves in simple divorce cases.  As a member of the Bureau, she conducted her first family law trial – a custody matter involving sexual abuse allegations.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Raquel occasionally serves as a Settlement Master in the San Francisco, Alameda and San Mateo Superior Courts, guiding attorneys and their clients in the settlement of dissolution and other contested family law matters.

Honors & Awards

  • Named a "Family Law Trailblazer" by the National Law Journal (2019)
  • Recognized as a San Francisco Super Lawyer in Family Law (2014-2019)
Raquel L. Sefton
Rated by Super Lawyers

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