Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences and reportedly seeking physical custody of their six children. Jolie is understood to have secured the services of celebrity lawyer Laura Wasser.
Dubbed the 'Disso Queen' by celebrity gossip websites for her expertise in dissolving high-profile marriages, she is one of Hollywood's most sought-after lawyers, and has represented several stars in their divorce negotiations.
Wasser, 48, is the daughter of two lawyers, with her father, Dennis M Wasser, also a celebrity divorce lawyer, having represented Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg.
Her father reportedly chose her full name, Laura Allison Wasser, so the initials would spell LAW.
Wasser graduated from the University of California in Berkeley in 1991, completing her studies at Loyola Law School before being called to the California State Bar in 1994.
She joined Wasser, Cooperman & Mandles, the law firm co-founded by her father, in 1995, where she still practices.
While at Loyola she married, but the relationship broke down and she filed the divorce paperwork as soon as she passed the bar. A mother to two boys, she has told interviewers she will never marry again.
Physical custody and legal custody
Jolie is reportedly seeking sole physical custody of the six children she has with Pitt, instead of joint custody.
According to TMZ tensions built between the couple over Pitt's "parenting methods."
Under California law, children live exclusively with the parent who has been granted sole physical custody instead of dividing their time between parental homes.
If Jolie's request is granted, Pitt would have visitation rights.
Both parents would share legal custody, meaning they have equal rights to make decisions on the children's health, education, welfare and future.
Wasser reportedly charges $850 per hour, requires a $25,000 retainer and rarely represents people who are worth less than $10m.
She represented Jolie in her divorce with Billy Bob Thornton, and has also represented Denise Richards, Stevie Wonder and Britney Spears during their divorces. She is reportedly representing Johnny Depp in his acrimonious split from Amber Heard.
Wasser's success is attributed to her adeptness at cultivating celebrity contacts and her skill at encouraging clients to work together to reach a settlement, as once legal papers are filed they become a matter of public record, reported by celebrity news and gossip sites.
"Take yourself back to either when you were in dating, or when you were in the delivery room holding her hand. There must something you liked about him or her," she said in an interview CNN.