San Diego Divorce Lawyers

Julia M. Garwood • Certified Family Law Specialist

Testimonials


Phil: Well, it's Groundhog Day... again... and that must mean that we're up here at Gobbler's Knob waiting for the forecast from the world's most famous groundhog weatherman, Punxsutawney Phil, who's just about to tell us how much more winter we can expect. The movie Groundhog Day [1] is a comical rendition of déjà vu that features a cynical newscaster who is forced to repeat the same day (Groundhog Day) over and over again. Phil Conners is finally granted the ability to progress to February 3rd after he changes his outlook on life and decides to become a better person. The movie illustrates the importance of being able to learn from our mistakes so that we don’t find ourselves stuck in a perpetual cycle of repetition. It would be nice if we were all afforded the luxury of a comical redo that enabled us to improve our life – and without the tribulations of making mistakes! Unfortunately though, most aspects of life are more complex than in the movies, and take longer than an hour and twenty minutes to come to a positive conclusion. Divorce in particular is a situation that is often layered with complexity and can be difficult to attribute to a singular cause. There are, however, several common problems that have been noted by divorcees as major contributing factors to divorce. It is important to be aware of these issues so you don’t find yourself repeating the same problems of your first marriage. Phil: Come on, all the long distance lines are down? What about satellite? Is it snowing in space? Don't you keep open a line for emergencies or for celebrities? Communication Communication is one of the most commonly reported problems in relationships. More than the simple act of exchanging words, communication is the process of being able to hear and respect the other person’s point of view. This requires both parties to listen, care, and understand. Rather than concerning yourself with getting your point across or “winning”, try focusing on listening to, and understanding, what your partner is trying to communicate to you. Here are some other tools that can be used to help you and your loved one make sure you are creating a positive communication environment: Schedule and set aside time to discuss important topics. This should be an uninterrupted timeframe where both participants are committed to the communication process. No phones No TV No distractions Set up rules (for both in-depth conversations and everyday interaction.) No interrupting No raising your voice No blaming Address one issue at a time (don’t add unnecessary complexity to the conversation.) Call for a “timeout” if needed. If you are feeling like you aren’t being heard, or the conversation is getting a little too intense, take a break from the conversation and come back to the issue when emotions aren’t as high.   Phil: I'm just giving you your money's worth. You paid top dollar for me. Rita: I think you were a bargain. Phil: Sweet of you to say. You're probably right. Money It doesn’t matter whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or if you’re financially prosperous, there are very few relationships where the topic of money hasn’t caused at least a little bit of tension. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to handle finances, so keep in mind that what works for your neighbors or friends isn’t necessarily what will work best for you and your partner. Some questions to consider and communicate about might include: Will you pool your finances into combined checking accounts? Will you keep separate checking accounts in addition to a joint account? And if so, what will be paid for out of individual funds verses joint funds? Will you set a monthly budget with personal allowances for spending cash? Will each of you pay off previous debts separately, or do they become a jointly held liability? What will you do about personal assets? What are the expectations for gift giving to relatives and each other?   Whatever you decide, remember that you are a team and deciding together how your finances will be managed will help your relationship succeed. Be honest about your current financial situation – with your partner and with yourself. Approach the subject as a constructive conversation. Decide how each bill is going to be paid and who will be responsible for actually managing the checkbook and bill paying. Create short-term and long-term financial goals. Have a plan in place to be able to manage a financial emergency.   Phil: I think people place too much emphasis on their careers. I wish we could all live in the mountains at high altitude. That's where I see myself in five years. How about you? Rita: Oh, I agree. I just like to go with the flow. See where it leads me. Phil: Well, it's led you here. Rita: Mm hmm. Of course it's about a million miles from where I started out in college. Priorities Relationships are constantly evolving and both people involved in the marriage or partnership are bound to change as well. Combine this with other factors such as children or a career and it can cause one or both parties to seem less invested in the relationship. It’s normal for the overzealous emotions that are conveyed during the beginning of a relationship to subside. It may be a cliché, but it’s also true that relationships take constant work. Make the relationship a priority. Spend time together, plan date nights, and turn off the cell phone and leave work at the office whenever you can. Do the things you did during the courting process. Show your affection to your loved one, complement each other, contact each other at random times during the day to let the other one know you are thinking about them. Share in your partners interests, either by participating or by being genuinely interested to hear about them. Experience new things together.   Rita: [as Phil kisses Rita over and over discovering that he has finally passed Groundhog Day] Phil, why weren't you like this last night? You just fell asleep. Phil: It was the end of a VERY long day. Put An End To Your Groundhog Day You don’t have to relive the same day over and over to learn from the past. But getting remarried can serve as a nice little do over. It provides you with the opportunity to establish a healthy relationship with your new partner and gives you a chance to not repeat the problems of your first marriage. After all, when you are yearning for the fresh start of spring – the last thing you want is another six weeks of winter. [1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

Happy Women’s History Month [1]! March is the time of year when we celebrate the strength and accomplishments of the women throughout the ages. It was more than 100 years ago when the seed of Women’s History Month was first planted. In 1911, the first annual International Women’s Day was officially celebrated by more than a million people in Europe. After staking its annual claim on March 8 and spreading to countries around the world, International Women’s Day grew to Women’s History Week in the United States in 1980 before finally being awarded the entire month by Congress in 1987. Women have made tremendous strides over the past century, and continue to make much-needed progress today. What may once have been surprising, and today is anything but, is that some of the most important contributors to this ongoing campaign have been mothers. And not just mothers, but single mothers: impassioned women who leave an indelible mark on history while at the same time raising strong and healthy children on their own. In honor of those who remind us that independence and motherhood can be a limitless source of empowerment, here are a few of the most inspirational single moms, past and current. Jackie Kennedy Onassis One of the nation’s most visible single mothers, Jackie Kennedy [2] was tasked with raising two young children after the tragic assassination of her husband. For five years she was the picture of grace and resolve, as she mothered Caroline and John Jr. under the concerned gaze of the world. After her marriage to Aristotle Onassis in 1968, Jackie’s accomplishments only grew. She was recognized by Life magazine as “America's unofficial roving ambassador,” and went on to a successful career in book editing that spanned more than twenty years. Toni Morrison One of the most accomplished writers and academics this nation has ever known, novelist, editor, and professor Toni Morrison [3] divorced her husband in 1964, taking on the role of single mother to her children Harold and Slade. She went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her book Beloved, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. In 2012, Toni Morrison was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Martha Fineman Considered "the preeminent feminist family theorist of our time,” Martha Fineman [4] is an American jurist and legal theorist, and sits as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. A single mother of four children, Fineman was previously on the Cornell Law School faculty, where she held the Dorothea Clarke Professorship, the first endowed chair in the nation in feminist jurisprudence. She also served as the Maurice T. Moore Professorship at Columbia Law School. Her contributions to family law, feminist jurisprudence, law and sexuality, and reproductive issues are immeasurable. Coretta Scott King The widow of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King [5] was an accomplished author, activist, and civil rights leader until her death in 2006. After the assassination of her husband in 1968, she became a single mother to Yolanda, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott, and Bernice. She went on to uphold the legacy of her husband, helping to lead not only the Civil Rights Movement, but also the Women's Movement and the LGBT rights movement. Coretta founded the King Center in honor of her late husband, and made it her mission to establish his birthday as a national holiday. Katie Couric A prolific member of the Television Hall of Fame, Katie Couric [6] has worked as a journalist, author, and talk show host, lending her talents to all of the “Big Three” American networks. As anchor of the CBS Evening News, she was the first solo female anchor of a weekday evening news program on one of these networks. She has also reported for 60 Minutes, hosted Today, and reported for Dateline NBC. Katie’s first book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives” was a New York Times best-seller. When her husband died of colon cancer in 1998, she raised her two young daughters, Ellie and Carrie, on her own. She went on to become a spokeswoman for colon cancer awareness, going so far as to undergo colonoscopy on-air in March 2000—a display of courage that inspired countless others to be screened as well. As a woman-owned law firm, Garwood Attorneys is proud to recognize our sister leaders for being an inspiration to single moms everywhere. For more information on Women’s History Month, check out the official website [7]. [1] http://womenshistorymonth.gov/ [2] http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/Life-of-Jacqueline-B-Kennedy.aspx [3] http://www.tonimorrisonsociety.org/ [4] http://www.law.emory.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/martha-albertson-fineman.html [5] http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-mrs-king [6] http://katiecouric.com/ [7] http://womenshistorymonth.gov

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

Whether you’re still digging out from the wake of the polar vortex on the East Coast, or feeling a bit guilty for the season’s strangely pleasant weather on the West, winter is slowly but surely coming to an end. With the return of the sun comes that perennial feeling of renewal and rebirth that inspires us to take inventory and tidy up our lives. Put simply: it’s time again for some spring cleaning. This can be an especially liberating time of year if you’re recovering from a recent divorce. Not only does it give you the opportunity to clear out reminders of your old life, it empowers you to restructure your surroundings however you see fit. That’s not to say post-divorce spring cleaning is easy. Here are a few tips to help you clean house—both literally and metaphorically. Cleaning the House You Live In Before you tend to your emotional cleansing post-divorce, it’s often best to tidy up your everyday environment. Ridding your life of physical “junk” and establishing some order in the space you live in can be a valuably cathartic process. Once your surroundings are neat and clean and free from reminders of the past, it’s a whole lot easier to move forward in shaping your new life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help The support of a good friend can be invaluable when cleaning up after a divorce. You never know what items around the house will trigger an unexpected emotional response. Having someone there to help with the heavy heart that often comes along with the “heavy lifting” will make the process that much easier. Have a plan in place for sentimental items Deciding whether to keep, destroy, or replace special reminders of your past relationship is one only you can make. Think of what will be best for the emotional well-being of your future self, but, if you have children, be sure to also take their feelings into consideration. If you’re planning on keeping photos, letters, wedding rings, or gifts from your ex, consider packing these things away for now and maybe even having a friend or family member store them for you. Go into the process with a plan so that you don’t have to linger on items that evoke nostalgia or painful feelings. When taking inventory of what might be potentially sensitive, don’t forget seemingly mundane items like the bed, which you may be better off replacing. Don’t forget your virtual home These days, spring cleaning has to extend to our digital lives as well. Clearing out your email, updating your contacts, reorganizing your online calendar, and syncing your devices can be even more useful than straightening up around the house. Pay particular attention to the mobile devices that are always by your side. Take the time to purge photos, texts, and contacts that might be anchors to your former life. Reclaim the space that’s yours! The best part about post-divorce spring cleaning is that you’re free to completely redefine your surroundings, however you see fit. Tapping into your creative spirit when redecorating can be one of the easiest acts of empowerment on your road to a new life. Let yourself go, and enjoy the liberty that comes with designing a home that is all your own. This doesn’t have to be a process that breaks the bank either. Even the smallest changes can be powerfully self-affirming. If you’re on a budget, consider shopping at second-hand stores, where finding the perfect item is way more thrilling than perusing the aisles of big outlets. Cleaning the House that Lives in You Once you’ve seen to cleaning up the space around you, you may want to turn your attention inward for some emotional and spiritual purification of your own. There are countless ways to “clean house” when it comes to your psyche. The following are a few suggestions. Mind and body enrichment Take some time to treat yourself well—mentally, spiritually, and physically. Book a spa day and cleanse your body of impurities. Take up yoga or meditation and do the same for your mind and soul. Start your new life with a clean and healthy slate so that the decisions you make moving forward are born from clarity, not confusion. Walk it off Sometimes it’s the simplest acts that can be the most freeing. Walks, long or short, are a great way to clear your head, relish in the spring air, and find inspiration in your surroundings. Want to take it a step further? Find a walk (or run) that benefits your favorite charity, set a goal, and train for it. Daytrip with abandon You don’t have to take a two-week vacation to Tahiti to enjoy the benefits of getting out of town and breaking from routine. Find new destinations for hiking, camping, shopping—whatever your pleasure—and hit the road, if only for a day. If you have children, short trips like this are a great way to reconnect with them during what can be a confusing time. Get creative With a new life comes new time, and it’s important to put that time to good use. If there are hobbies you’ve always wanted to try, now is your chance to do so. Painting, writing, sculpting, gardening—there’s no better time to find a fresh outlet for creative fulfillment. Find local, like-minded local communities for the added benefit of socialization. Reinvent your look A little excitement about your external self can go a long way in instilling all-important confidence on your new life journey. New clothes, a new haircut, a makeover—it doesn’t have to be dramatic, but if ever there were ever a time for change, now is it. Plant a tree Even if gardening isn’t on your list of things to do, planting a single tree (or plant) can be a cathartic and inspiring act. As you grow, so will the tree, reminding you of your strength and progress along the way. Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

Child abuse can be physical or emotional, but it's very real and damaging. In immediate abuse situations, the answer is always to call 911. Don't be afraid to call Child Protective Services — the safety of your child is of the utmost importance, and almost always the child will stay with you if you are a responsible parent. In San Diego call the County Social Services Department's Child Protective Services Child Abuse Hotline at (858) 560-2191 or (800) 344-6000 to report situations in which you suspect that a child has been abused or appears to be at risk of being abused. Visit the San Diego Police Department website for more information on Reporting Child Abuse [1]. If there's not immediate danger, see a family law attorney to discuss what will be best for your child and your rights as a parent. A skilled family law specialist can help you determine the best course of action. [1] http://www.sandiego.gov/police/services/prevention/victimresources/reportchildabuse.shtml

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

It’s a good thing that the month of May brings flowers, because it also marks two occasions on which they come in handy: Mother’s Day [1] (5/11) and National Teacher’s Day [2] (5/6). The closeness on the calendar of these two dates may be coincidental, but it’s appropriate nonetheless. Few would argue that mothers are the world’s best teachers, but mothers can’t do it all—especially mothers who have been through a divorce. For divorced moms with children, a great teacher can be a godsend. The comfort of knowing that your child’s development is in good hands lessens the stresses of single parenthood. Showing appreciation for the dedication of your child’s teacher is a great idea any day of the year, but Teacher’s Day is a time to do something special. A Unique Opportunity for a Unique Gift There’s no shortage of creative ways to bond with your kids as you show support for those who teach them. This is a great opportunity for you to ask your child questions about their teacher. What type of person are they when the last bell of the school day rings? Prompt your son or daughter to think a little more personally about the educator they spend so much of their time with. Brainstorm together on some of the special things that make their teacher unique. If you have trouble coming up with unique traits, give your child a special assignment to find out more! In learning about their teacher, you and your child can learn about each other as well. With your newfound insight into your child’s teacher’s personality, there’s no reason you need to limit yourself to tried and true gifts like shiny apples or ‘World’s Best Teacher’ mugs. Celebrate their contribution to the world outside your child’s classroom with a unique and personalized gift. The Passionate Social Advocate Many teachers got into the profession because of their dedication to social issues. Is your child’s teacher particularly devoted to a special cause outside of the classroom? Are they an animal lover, or do they volunteer at a local soup kitchen? If so, a great way to honor their own service is to make a donation in their name to their favorite cause or charity. Most charities have easy online donation options and creative ways to present these thoughtful contributions. The Culture Lover A great many education professionals’ passions lie in the arts. If your child’s teacher is especially devoted to the school’s programs for drama, music, or visual arts, gift ideas abound. Often these school programs are under-funded and teachers themselves pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. Gift cards to arts and crafts or educational supply stores are not only thoughtful, but practical as well. Tickets to a local play or concert, museum or film passes, or even art supplies for their own creative hobby can also be a great idea—find out what inspires the teacher in your child’s life and you’re sure to feel good knowing you helped further their own cultural pursuits. The Sports Fan Does your child’s teacher double as a coach or PE instructor? Is their desk or personal space festooned with regalia from your local pro team? Find out where their loyalties lie and get them tickets to a game, a new hat or t-shirt, or, for a personal touch, a homemade poster designed by you and your child. The Tireless Professional For the teacher whose dedication knows no bounds—who seems to eat, breathe, and sleep education—consider reminding them that they deserve a little pampering every now and then. Female educators might appreciate a gift certificate for a manicure, pedicure, or spa treatment. Or, put together a take-home spa experience with candles, bath products, aroma-therapeutic products and more.  For male teachers or a more gender-neutral gift, movie or dinner coupons for a night out are also a great gift idea. Spread the Word One of the best gifts you and your child can give their teacher—and teachers across the country—is to spread the word about National Teacher’s Day. The National Education Association [3] website has some great, readymade ways to get the word out about your support for the educators of our youth: Update your Facebook page here, with a special message for teachers [4] Create a fun, six-second video with your child on Vine [5] Download custom posters showing your support [6] Learn about the Top Ways to Make a Difference in the Lives of Teachers [7] Read up on what teachers really want for Teacher’s Day [8] Find out about other ways to celebrate Teacher’s Day in school, in your community, and beyond! [9]   You’re not likely to forget Mother’s Day, but it’s not the only important day of recognition in May. Your child’s teachers are very much their second families, reinforcing the life lessons and values they learn at home. Take time to show your child’s teacher their efforts don’t go unappreciated and bond with your kids in finding ways to celebrate their teacher together! Image Credit: Mosborne01 [10] [1] http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day [2] http://www.nea.org/grants/teacherday.html [3] http://www.nea.org/grants/teacherday.html [4] https://www.facebook.com/neatoday/app_195646697137509 [5] http://www.nea.org/grants/58722.htm [6] http://www.nea.org/grants/31665.htm [7] http://www.nea.org/grants/55239.htm [8] http://www.nea.org/home/55456.htm [9] http://www.nea.org/grants/55148.htm [10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ashs-teacher-and-students.jpg#globalusage

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

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