San Diego Divorce Lawyers

Julia M. Garwood • Certified Family Law Specialist


Julia is a competent and objective professional family law attorney who provides sound and consistent counsel. She is supported by a strong legal team who were impressively responsive to me. Julia always ensured I was aware of the potential downside of each issue we reviewed. She strikes the right balance between taking assertive positions and the legal cost of those decisions so that I could exercise appropriate judgment on each issue. I found this approach to be quite unique and it ensured I reached a highly satisfactory divorce settlement. I highly recommend Julia to be your family law attorney.

San Diego Father


Ms. Garwood and her staff handled my case in a professional and satisfactory manner. We attempted to settle out of court which was my desire, but opposing counsel was very unreasonable and showed very little flexibility. I was extremely pleased with Ms. Garwood’s representation of my case in court and actually going to court resulted in a better outcome than I had anticipated. Her knowledge and guidance through this very difficult time along with the support of her staff was comforting. I feel confident that you can trust Ms. Garwood to handle your case with the upmost care and professionalism.

San Diego Mother


Providing care to those in need of assistance often falls to adult older children as their parents age. Just as divorce affects many other aspects of family life, going through a divorce or caring for divorced parents can have a dramatic impact on caregiving. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, National Center on Caregiving [1], over 65 million Americans—nearly 30% of the adult population—provide unpaid assistance with the activities of daily living, financial support, and/or medical care each year to a family member or friend who is ill, disabled, or elderly. Caregiving to divorced parents. The immediate impact on minor children when their parents divorce is obvious. What may not be so obvious is the long-term impact of the divorce on children’s lives as divorced parents become elderly or are otherwise in need of assistance. Adult children as caregivers are often faced with providing assistance to two separate households; households that may be not only a significant distance from each other, but a significant distance from the caregiver’s house as well. This imposes a greater burden of time, money, energy, and financial resources upon adult children providing care to their divorced parent(s). With the increase in gray divorces [2]and subsequent remarriages, adult children may also find themselves presented with the need to provide care to multiple sets of parents or extended families, as well as needing to coordinate and with step- or half-siblings, all with different approaches to managing the burden of caregiving. Caregiving when divorced or divorcing. A caregiver’s own divorce can also impact the ability to provide care to a parent or other family member. A caregiver who has been providing financial assistance to a care recipient may lose substantial income and/or resources through a divorce and their ability to continue to financially support others after a divorce may be significantly impacted. Further, for members of the “Sandwich Generation” [3]—adults who are caring for both an aging parent and a minor child—divorce may also leave them with less time and energy to provide care, especially if the parent(s) live some distance away. No matter how complicated the situation is, help is available for caregivers. The composition of every family is different, and the challenges facing those who provide care assistance to family members is unique to each individual. Regardless of the situation, the following tips may help to ease the burden of caregiving: Identify the needs of the care recipient.  As a starting point, it is important to have an understanding of the care recipient’s needs. Needing assistance with managing finances, paying bills, and budgeting is very different from needing care due to a medical condition. If a family member is in need of caregiving due to a medical condition, learning about their diagnosis will help the caregiver understand the disease process and plan ahead accordingly. Fostering a relationship with the family member’s physician can help the caregiver be prepared for such things as knowing the medications that a family member needs, and any potential side effects.   Talk with family members about finances and health care wishes.  Discussing finances and health care wishes can sometimes be difficult and emotional, both for caregivers and for care recipients. But having these difficult conversations gives everyone the ability to better address challenges as they arrive. Further, preparing Durable Powers of Attorney [4] for finances and healthcare while the care recipient is still able to express their wishes may relieve anxiety of caregivers and care recipients alike—as well as prepare all parties for the time when a family member is unable to make these decisions themselves.   Ask for, and accept, help from others. Consider meeting with other family members and close friends to discuss care needs. Even if others are unable or unwilling to help with the caregiving, keeping everyone informed of the condition and needs of the care recipient is important to minimize family disagreements. These conversations are also a great opportunity to ask for help. Maybe a neighbor or close friend would be willing to do the grocery shopping, provide regular social activities for the care recipient, or even just stop by to check in occasionally. Perhaps a family member would be willing to take over the caregivers’ tasks for a short period of time, so the caregiver could take a vacation. Most caregivers agree that any help, even if it seems insignificant, can lessen the burden that they bear. So don’t hesitate to ask for, and accept, any offers of help.   Take advantage of community resources.  Many communities provide free or low cost assistance to care recipients. For example, many communities have meal delivery programs, and senior centers may provide adult day care services. Government and non-profit organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging [5], Family Caregiver Alliance [6], and National Alliance for Caregiving [7] provide caregivers with education and training regarding caregiving and assist caregivers with finding local resources that provide assistance to the elderly and those who care for them. Locally, Jewish Family Services [8] has a plethora of information and support opportunities.   Take care of yourself and find support.  Because the task of caring for a family member can be emotionally, financially, and physically draining, it is crucial that caregivers take care of their own health and well-being. Further it is important that long-term caregivers not isolate themselves. Connecting with in-person or online support groups [9] can provide a place to share your burdens with others in the same situation, and also an opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.   In recognition of the invaluable services that unpaid caregivers provide each year, November has been declared National Family Caregivers Month [10]. Garwood Attorneys would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank everyone who is providing care to those in need of assistance. If you’re a caregiver—or expecting to be caregiving at some point in the future—and contemplating or preparing for a divorce, please contact us [11] to discuss ways to agree to caregiving roles and responsibilities in your divorce settlement terms.   [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Abuse/Domestic Violence


The winter holidays – from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day – are a time for celebration and holiday cheer. It’s when families come together and the spirit of the season makes us all shine a little brighter. Garwood Attorneys understands that the holidays can be challenging for divorcees, and that you might feel some apprehension as the end of the year approaches. No need to simply batten down the hatches and try to just survive them though. We’ve prepared a Holiday Thrival Kit to help you thrive instead of just survive this holiday season! Holiday Thrival Kit Item #1 – Positive Thinking “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller Positive thinking is an excellent tool to carry with you during the holiday season. It can help mend some of those emotional strains and provide you with a strong foundation for any challenges you might face. But positive thinking takes more than just an impulsive desire to be happy. It takes a dedicated mindset and a change in lifestyle. You’re not going to be able to achieve positive thinking by simply wanting to be happy. Positive thinking is accomplished through continued effort and long-term persistence. Positive Thinking Tips Smile – Changing your mind set might be as simple as making yourself smile. The Facial Feedback Hypothesis [1] states that facial movement can influence emotional experience. For example, someone who is forced to smile during a holiday gathering will actually come to find the event more of an enjoyable experience. Surround yourself with positive people – Everyone knows someone that can light up a room and bring a smile to your face. They are enjoyable to be around and can’t help but lift your mood. Spend time with positive thinking people rather than those who choose to focus on the negative. Help Someone – They say it’s better to give than to receive. Giving can also be a great way for you to take your mind off of yourself. There are plenty of places in San Diego or your local community that could use an extra volunteer [2]. When you help someone less fortunate, it provides both of you with some positive thinking for going beyond just surviving the holidays. Exercise – This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for the next half marathon and you don’t even have to join the hordes of “Resolutioners” at the local gym. Just get outside and be active; go for a walk in Balboa Park, enjoy the beachfront, or do some yoga [3] with a 150-pound pot-bellied pig [4]. Rekindle an old hobby or start a new one – Chances are during your marriage one or more of your hobbies had to take a back seat. There is no better time than the present to reach back into your past and pull forward some of these enjoyable pastimes. Don’t worry if nothing is coming to mind or your hobby is out of season. That just means you can start anything you want! Read Positive Quotes – Begin each day with a quote about positive thinking, happiness, or finding appreciation. Write it down or memorize it and take it with you to look at throughout the day.   Holiday Thrival Kit Item #2 – The Plan “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery Unfortunately, there are going to be some challenges during the holiday season that you can’t avoid. It is important for you to do an internal evaluation, define what boundaries you need to set, and make a plan to help maintain your “positive thinking” attitude to thrive rather than just survive the holidays. Family Interaction Plan - Sometimes family members feel the need to put differences aside during the holidays and be civil with an ex for the sake of the family. It is important to be realistic with yourself. If you and your ex have not been speaking, or if you still have strong emotions about the separation, don’t force the interaction. The end result will rarely be positive for anyone. Holiday Traditions Plan – Traditions [5] have a special place during the holiday season. It is sometimes difficult for recent divorcees to either continue a long-time tradition or to stop an annual tradition. Do you let a tradition go, or try to force yourself through something that is no longer enjoyable? If you are unsure about how to approach a tradition, simply look to your first tool in the Holiday Thrival Kit. If it is going to make you unhappy, don’t force yourself through it. It doesn’t have to mean the tradition is over, it can just mean you are taking a break from it this year. Children Plan – It is important that you and your ex establish a mutual plan [6] for where your children will spend specific portions of the holidays and coordinate your gift-giving. Having a clear plan in advance is beneficial to everyone involved and can help avoid crisis situations and decisions that can threaten your ability to thrive.    Holiday Thrival Kit Item #3 – Fun Holiday Activities “Time flies when you’re having fun!” There is no better way to get through the holidays than to get out and enjoy yourself. With a positive attitude, a plan, and a list full of fun activities, you are ready to thrive this holiday season! Fun Holiday Activities in San Diego: [7] (Look to your local publications for additional holiday events in San Diego, or to find ones near wherever you’ll be spending the holidays.) December Nights in Balboa Park [8]  Dec. 6 & 7 North Park Toyland Parade [9]  Dec. 7 Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo [10]  Dec. 15 – Jan. 6 Del Mar Fairgrounds Holiday of Lights [11] Nov. 28 – Jan. 5 Ice Skate Outdoors – Horton Square [12] Nov. 21 – Jan. 5 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights [13] Dec. 8 & Dec. 15 Holiday Bowl Big Balloon Parade [14] Dec. 30 Old Town Holiday in the Park & Las Posadas [15] Dec. 1 – Dec. 23 Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights [16] Dec. 14 Christmas in the Park – Poway [17] Dec. 14 Photo Credit: © Egidijus Mika [18] | Dreamstime Stock Photos [19] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

Abuse/Domestic Violence


There is nothing more liberating than reaching the point after a divorce when you feel ready to start dating again. But just because you’ve committed yourself to taking the plunge back into the dating scene, doesn’t mean you’re ready to jump in with both feet. There are some things to keep in mind when you start dating after a divorce that will help you feel empowered.  The first step is to make sure you are ready to move forward with dating after a divorce.Preparing To Move Forward: Part 1Wait until your divorce is finalizedIt doesn’t matter if you have been separated for months, or if you’re still living together but feel emotionally ready to move forward. Until the paperwork is finalized you are technically still married. California is a no-fault divorce state, which means legally the courts doesn’t need a specific reason to pronounce that you and your spouse are divorced. You may see on TV when celebrities are divorcing that they check the box “irreconcilable differences.” It can, however, be used as a basis in other aspects of the divorce – like your judgment and decision-making skills, or ability to act in the best interest of the children.Healing: Part 2Give yourself time to healEven the most resilient individuals need to go through an emotional healing process. It is important to address your feelings and allow yourself time to heal and digest your new living situation. There is a chance that if you don’t take the time to go through this emotional process, it could have lingering effects. This isn’t a self-pity party; it’s an emotional cleansing that has the ability to help you find unobstructed happiness as you move forward. Therapy can be a good option if you are having difficulty going through this process on your own.Put yourself (and your family) firstWhen you spend extensive time in a relationship with another person your identities can become intertwined. This is a great opportunity to get back in touch with yourself [1]and redefine your personality as a person. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean selfishly just doing whatever you want. It means making sure your own wants and needs are a priority and considered along with what others who are close to you want and need. This also allows your children, extended family members, and friends to get to know you as an individual, not just part of “the couple” you had come to be.Don’t rush thingsThis is where you need to spend some time reflecting and making sure you have accomplished the preceding steps. Getting a divorce brings a wave of different emotions and so does getting back into the dating scene. The last thing you want to do is confuse emotions you feel for the person you’re dating with the excitement and emotions of no longer being alone. By taking the time to let yourself heal and developing your own happiness, you are preparing yourself for a successful dating experience.Taking The Dating Plunge: Part 3Once your divorce is finalized and you’re emotionally prepared to move forward with dating, it’s time to get back into the dating world. You can do this by tip-toeing in to test the waters, or just jump right in!Know your dating intentionYou don’t have to start each date by expressing you are not interested in getting serious or that you are looking for someone to help you raise your children. But it is important that you take the time to reflect and know for yourself what your intentions are. You can go into a dating relationship undefined, but there is a chance that whoever you’re dating might want some clarification. Having that conversation will be so much easier if know for yourself what you are looking for.Don’t run from – or to – your exThere are going to be people and behaviors that remind you of your ex. With the exception of abusive and other harmful or negative behaviors, you don’t have to run for the door every time someone makes your ex pop into your head. Many people who are new to dating again intentionally look to date someone they see as a complete opposite to their ex, thinking that by doing so they can avoid repeating the issues from their past relationship. Conversely, you don’t want to necessarily seek out someone just like your ex simply because that feels comfortable and familiar. Everyone and every relationship is different. If you’re emotionally ready to move forward, then you’ll be able to date without running to or from someone that reminds you of your ex.Hang around other singlesA great way to get the hang of being single again is in the company of other singles. When you start dating, remember you don’t have to go it alone. Other single friends can take you to the places you need to go to meet other singles and serve as your wingman. Conversation is sometimes easier in groups and it can help you get past the pressure of a one-on-one situation. Don’t have any single friends? Reach out to other couples then! Just because someone’s in a committed relationship doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy spending time as a couple with you, or even a little time without their spouse for a night out. And maybe they know some other single friends to introduce you to.Try online datingIf you have been out of the dating scene for a more than a couple of years, you might think that meeting people online is a little creepy. A lot has changed since the early 90’s though. Now, one out of three couples getting married in the U.S. [2] are actually meeting online! The days of relying on happenstance and successful blind dates are over. You now have the ability to look specifically for people that interest you and establish a connection without a ton of those awkward first dates. Just remember that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t be shy to respond to someone who expresses an interest in you, and give yourself a chance to get to know the person behind the profile. Be careful about how much personal information you share online and choose wisely when deciding to meet face-to-face. It’s always sensible to choose a public location for coffee or lunch until you know each other better.Just remember the point of getting back into the dating scene is to improve upon your happiness. Your main focus should be making sure that you are enjoying yourself. Dating can be a fun and stress free experience, so don’t let your age, your family, or your fear of being alone rush you into a serious relationship that you may not be ready for. Use your best judgment when deciding when and if you are going to date. Enjoy your new life as a single individual and then whenever you’re ready—jump back in the dating pool! Photo Credit: ©  [3]seanmcgrath [4] | Creative Commons [5] | August 5, 2007 [6] [7] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Abuse/Domestic Violence


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1450 Frazee Road, Suite 501, San Diego, CA 92108