Margaret M. Donohoe
Margaret Donohoe (she/her) brings her clients a strong intellect, broad experience and a willingness to give frank advice, tempered by sensitivity and a sense of humor. Margaret has been practicing exclusively in the field of matrimonial and family law since 2000 and has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top family law attorneys in New York. She is a regular lecturer on family law subjects for the New York State Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association.
Margaret is one of the few matrimonial attorneys in New York with an Ivy League education, experience in an elite federal clerkship, and training at a top commercial litigation firm. Margaret graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1992, with a B.A. in English, and from Yale Law School in 1995, where she was chairperson of the Barrister’s Union. After law school, Margaret clerked for the Honorable John C. Lifland, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. She then spent three years engaged in complex commercial and securities litigation at Covington & Burling (and its predecessor). As a result of her federal clerkship and early litigation experience, Margaret entered the arena of matrimonial law with an understanding of complex commercial issues, and a thorough grounding in complex, civil litigation.
Margaret was drawn to family law by her desire to work with a diverse array of individual clients. She recognizes that family law matters are of vital importance, affecting every aspect of her clients’ lives. Margaret approaches each case as a unique problem solving exercise. Whenever possible, Margaret attempts to find an agreed solution. She is able to achieve settlements in the vast majority of her cases. If litigation is the best course to achieve a client’s goals, Margaret is in her element in the courtroom, where she brings to bear a wealth of experience, agile strategy and unrelenting dedication.
Margaret’s clients who are public and high profile figures are assured their matters are treated with the utmost discretion and integrity with respect to their privacy.
Margaret lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. She serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Heights Montessori School.
Clients of note
Margaret represented the First Lady of the City of New York, Donna Hanover, in her highly publicized divorce from former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. On appeal, she successfully defended the trial court’s decision to bar Mayor Giuliani’s paramour from the Mayor’s official residence, Gracie Mansion. See Anonymous v. Anonymous, 286 A.D.2d 656, 734 N.Y.S.2d 115 (1st Dep’t 2001).
Margaret also represented the noted investment manager and shareholder activist, Guy Wyser-Pratte, through trial and appeal. At trial, she won distribution to Mr. Wyser-Pratte of more than one-half of the marital estate, notwithstanding a long-term marriage. Ms. Donohoe successfully defended the trial decision, with minor modification, on appeal. See Wyser-Pratte v. Wyser-Pratte, 68 A.D.3d 624, 892 N.Y.S.2d 334 (1st Dep’t 2009). The Wyser-Pratte decision has been widely noted as signaling a shift in the Appellate Division, First Department, away from presumptive equal distribution of assets in long-term marriages. The case is also an important precedent regarding tax impacting of deferred, off-shore incentive fees and credit for commingled separate property.
Cases of note
Won dismissal of divorce case for lack of New York personal jurisdiction over the husband, a resident of West Virginia, and successfully defended the decision on appeal. See Julien v. Julien, 78 A.D.3d 584, 912 N.Y.S.2d 42 (1st Dep’t 2010).
Presented case at trial on valuation and distribution of a multi-million dollar collection of artworks and antiques, resulting in a favorable mid-trial settlement.
Obtained an injunction after full trial, preventing the client’s former-wife from relocating to Texas with the parties’ children.
Obtained court order after full trial permitting father to relocate internationally with the parties’ children.
Engaged to serve as an expert witness in California Superior Court regarding New York State matrimonial law and the equitable distribution of retirement and pension benefits.
Margaret Donohoe in the News
Amicable Divorce? Not in This Market
Shared Custody and COVID-19
CBS Sunday Morning Huma Abedin