San Diego Divorce Lawyers

Julia M. Garwood • Certified Family Law Specialist

Testimonials


Affecting Positive Changes for the New Year Making New Year resolutions is a tradition that dates back to ancient times. In fact, the month of January is named in honor of Janus [1], the Roman god of transitions and beginnings. It’s no surprise then, that approximately 45% of Americans [2] start the New Year by making at least one resolution. The allure of a fresh start is often the reason behind making New Year’s resolutions [3]. If you are newly divorced or in the process of divorcing, you are beginning a new phase of life as well as a new year. According to several studies conducted by behavior scientists at the University of Philadelphia, temporal turning points such as divorce help push us to improve our lives and ourselves. New Year’s presents a great opportunity to take the next step in your divorce recovery and in affecting positive changes for the New Year. Successfully Achieving New Year’s Resolutions Merely making resolutions doesn’t guarantee the positive changes we seek. Indeed, statistics [4] show the opposite is true: only 8% of those who set resolutions are successful in keeping their resolutions. Yet these same statistics also reveal that those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than those never make a resolution. So here are some tips for successfully keeping the resolutions you make to help you achieve positive changes for the New Year. Focus on just one resolution. As you reflect on the past year and consider the positive changes you would like for the future, it may be tempting to tackle an entire laundry list of resolutions. According to experts on habit changing [5], trying to make more than one major change at a time can be overwhelming, and draining of both the will power and the energy needed to effect change. Focusing on just one positive change for the New Year at a time ensures a greater chance of successfully achieving your goal. Identify the “Why” behind the resolution. Ask yourself why you want to make the changes that you are resolving to make. What are the benefits that you will receive if you are successful in accomplishing your goals? Identifying the “why” behind your resolution will help you commit to taking the steps necessary to effect positive changes for the New Year and maintain your motivation as time passes. For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to begin a new exercise regime, your “why” might include increasing physical strength, boasting your mood, or just increasing your overall health and well-being. Reminding yourself of the purpose behind your goal and the benefits you will receive can help give you the extra push you need when you just don’t feel up to sticking to your resolution on any given day. Make the resolution specific. It is hard to achieve vague ideals. Framing your goals in specific, measurable, attainable terms significantly increases your likelihood of success. A resolution to lose weight is a vague ideal for a positive change, but deciding to lose 20 pounds in six months beginning in January is a specific, measurable, attainable goal. Break the resolution up into smaller action steps. You have probably heard the old joke, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” New Year’s resolutions about positive changes for the New Year are often big goals that simply can’t be achieved in the short-term. Like eating an elephant, some resolutions are best achieved in incremental steps. One of the reasons that so many people abandon resolutions before achieving success is a failure to identify the step-by-step process necessary to reach their goal. The smaller and more easily attainable each step is to implement and achieve, the greater the likelihood of succeeding with a positive change. Go public with your resolution. Writing down your resolution, including the small steps that you are currently working on, and placing it in a visible spot can serve as a daily reminder and help you hold yourself accountable for taking the necessary step to effect the positive changes you want in your life. It can also be helpful to tell someone else about your resolution and ask them to hold you accountable. Even President Obama has admitted that his success in quitting smoking [6] is largely due to his wife holding him accountable. Expect some twists and turns in the journey. The shortest distance between two points may be a straight line, but making major changes in our habits or implementing new behaviors is seldom a direct path. It is not uncommon to have setbacks along the way. Expecting yourself to be perfect is not only unrealistic, it can derail you from accomplishing your goals. So if you catch yourself engaging in old behaviors, don’t despair or give up on your resolution to effect lasting change. Simply acknowledge the setback and continue persevering forward. If you are experiencing multiple setbacks, you might want to further refine your incremental steps – are you trying to eat the elephant all at once? Celebrate your success! Success breeds success. Don’t wait until you’ve attained your goal to celebrate and acknowledge your successes. Recognize and acknowledge the benefits that you are enjoying now as a result of making and keeping your resolution! Another advantage of breaking your resolution down into small action steps is that each step completed is an opportunity to reward yourself. These benefits and celebrations can fuel your motivation to continue to make positive changes for the New Year. Enjoy the Positive Changes In Your Life At Garwood Attorneys we firmly believe that everyone can live an empowered life, even in the aftermath of divorce. If you’re struggling with moving forward after your divorce, Reclaim Your Life for a New, Empowered You for the New Year [7]. Happy New Year, and success in keeping your resolutions to affect positive changes for the New Year! [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus [2] http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/12/new-years-resolutions-by-the-numbers.html [3] http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/why-we-make-resolutions-and-why-they-fail [4] http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ [5] http://zenhabits.net/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-effective-habit-change/ [6] http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-obama-smoking-wife-20130924-story.html [7] http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/new-empowered-you-for-the-new-year-reclaim-your-life-after-divorce/

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

There’s a lot to be said for taking the higher ground. In the first place, it just feels good to not stoop to someone else’s lower level; to maintain integrity and your own self worth. When you’re in the midst of divorce proceedings, however, it’s also very sound advice. Divorces by nature are never easy. It’s an emotionally charged transition, with both parties learning to accept, and let go of, what they thought would be “forever”. And all too often, things can turn down-right ugly with your soon-to-be-ex. Whether it’s general “mud-slinging”, name-calling, fighting over who gets the punch bowl from Aunt Martha, or more serious issues relating to child custody or complex property division, you don’t need to get caught up in it! Disengaging from your ex if things get ugly Sure, your ex is saying nasty things about you and you want to refute them. Maybe he’s even saying them directly to you and you’d like to fire one back at him — that’s only natural. Ask yourself first though: Will it help the situation? If your ex is being vicious or saying un-truths, it’s a pretty good bet that any response you make will just fuel the fire. You don’t want to provide ammunition for additional negativity from your ex. Remain calm and disengage. Don’t respond to that nasty voicemail or text message. If a response is absolutely needed for co-parenting – picking up a sick child from school for instance – take the higher ground and ignore the petty slams, or whatever negative comments are included, and simply respond factually regarding the issue at hand. If you and your ex have children, taking the higher ground is especially important for interactions with them as well. Just because your ex badmouths you to your child doesn’t mean you need to stoop to their level. While it’s tempting for parents to pass messages to each other through their children, not only is this an unreliable means of communicating with your ex, but anything negative your child hears will only make it harder on them during this already difficult time. Read Stop The Badmouthing [1] for more information on how this hurts your children and some helpful tips to avoid (or undo) parental alienation. Having a hard time biting your tongue when you see your ex on Facebook with someone new? If you haven’t already — un-friend them! (Un-circle them, delete them from your Twitter following, and disengage from all social media networks you’ve been previously connected through.) Yes, it’s completely understandable that you want to spy on them; it’s how you find out what they’re “up” to. If you find yourself cyber-stalking your ex, and what they’re doing or saying online upsets you, then stop the cyber-stalking. If you decide not to sever those connections altogether, then at least be sure not to respond to any of their social media postings. Thinking about reaching out to your ex directly for some "reassurance"? Here's a fun little post we found on Texting Your Ex: Expectations Vs. Reality [2] that might make you think twice before you do... Let your attorney handle the negotiations Disengaging from your ex can be easier said than done. Not only is there often a strong compulsion to retaliate, but you might also be unsure about what may or may not affect your divorce proceedings. Keep in mind that “…anything you say can, and [might], be held against you in a court of law…” All forms of electronic communication can be admissible in court, including copies of text messages! Watch this video about Electronic Communications in Divorce Proceedings [3] for additional information. Unless your divorce is uncontested, once a divorce enters the court system, it’s an adversarial process. You and your ex are essentially at odds and battling out in court everything from child custody, support, and visitation to asset, debt, and liability distribution. So hire, and trust a qualified divorce attorney to handle negotiations with your soon-to-be-ex‘s attorney. Please contact us at Garwood Attorneys for a Certified Family Divorce Specialist [4] who can assist you with navigating your communications and divorce proceedings.   Image credit: © Radu Razvan Gheorghe [5] | Dreamstime Stock Photos [6] [1] http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/stop-the-badmouthing-parental-alienation-can-hurt-your-kids/ [2] http://likes.com/relationships/texting-your-ex-expectations-vs-reaiity [3] http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/electronic-communications-divorce-proceedings/ [4] http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/certified-family-law-specialist/ [5] http://www.dreamstime.com/razvanjp_info [6] http://www.dreamstime.com/

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

It’s 2015 and, according to the APA [1], about 40-50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Yet we’ve perpetuated a negative social stigma around being divorced. Whether you’re getting divorced, or have been divorced for years, you may still struggle as others do with owning the label of being divorced. Taking the Mask Off the Being Divorced Stigma The reality is, most people don’t get married with the belief that they’ll get divorced. And like most others, you likely believed your love, as well as your marriage, would last forever. You probably spent a small fortune on the wedding, and years accumulating everything from “his and hers” towels, to that wistful collection of seashells from your summer vacations. Perhaps you got a rescue dog together, bought a house together, or started a family and raised children together. Wherever your marriage took you it’s likely you never thought you’d end up having to admit to the world that you now too wear the label of being divorced. According to therapist Hope Weiss [2], the stigma we feel around the label of being divorced is more likely generated from within ourselves than placed on us by society.* And it’s likely a result of the expectations that we set out with when we first got married. The Being Divorced Stigma of Failure Most of us were raised with classic storybook fairytales that set expectations about falling in love and living “happily ever after”. Similarly, marriages are intended to be “till death do you part,” leaving little room for the “what if” of a marriage ending. Moreover, there aren’t any fairytale endings that show couples deciding the marriage wasn’t right for them, getting divorced, and moving on to better and happier lives (unless you count the Kim Kardashian’s 'Fairy Tale' Divorce Skewered on 'SNL' [3]…) The unspoken message from all this cultural conditioning is that getting divorced is not “how it’s supposed to be.” This creates a sense of failure associated with being divorced, which has many people believing that because their marriage failed, they also failed. The Being Divorced Stigma of Embarrassment There’s also a fair amount of ego involved in the being divorced stigma. It can be embarrassing to admit that what you thought would last forever, simply didn’t. This can be especially difficult when compared to the life you may have portrayed outwardly to your friends and family, particularly during the honeymoon phase. It’s unlikely many in your community knew how unhappy you were, since our “keeping up with the Joneses” society requires us to talk about how wonderful our marriage and our spouse is. So when you’ve both finally had it, and agreed it’s time to call it quits, it can be embarrassing to find yourself admitting this reality to your wider community. The Being Divorced Stigma from Society Even though we might be our own worst enemy when it comes to feelings of failure and embarrassment, there is still a social stigma associated with being divorced. In general, our society seems to be geared towards couples, or the quest for coupling. So not only are you divorced, but you’re also single again. The friends you’ve made while married are likely other married couples, so you now find yourself an awkward third wheel. Well-intentioned relatives also don’t want you to be alone, so you endure their questions about dating and setting you up on dates. You find yourself in numerous settings that all remind you of the fact that you are now single again, and not only single but “divorced.” And to top it all off, you’re experiencing all of this at the same time that you’re mending a broken heart and getting your feet back under you. You’re Not Alone It seems trite to say, but you truly aren’t alone. Just take a look at The 10 Most Shocking Marriage Breakdowns Of 2014 [4] to see how celebrities struggle with the being divorced stigma. There’s no shame in being divorced, and not only are you not alone, but you don’t have to go through it alone either. In order to get support from your friends and family though, the mask has to come off. It’s okay to be embarrassed. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling, even if that’s a sense of failure. Taking off the mask and sharing openly your true feelings with others will allow them to understand how best to support you. If you don’t feel comfortable being open and vulnerable with friends or relatives, professional counselors or group therapy [5] can be a great healing support. Moving Past the Being Divorced Stigma As Marilyn Monroe said, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Here’s a great article by Cris Gladly who took off her mask to write about her honest journey through divorce: Ending My Fairytale Marriage Was The Best Thing I Ever Did [6]. You too can move past the being divorced stigma and write your own happily-ever-after! Please reach out to us [7] if the team at Garwood Attorneys can be of support with your divorce. We’re here to help guide you through this time of transition to a new and empowered life.   *Divorce Support: Experts Say Finding Support Can Help Ease Pain of Loss By Krystle Russin [8]   [1] http://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/ [2] http://www.hopeisthere.com/ [3] http://on.aol.com/video/kim-k-s-fairy-tale-divorce-skewered-on-snl-517197857 [4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/08/biggest-celebrity-divorces-2014_n_6291144.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity-divorce [5] http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/san-diego-support-during-your-divorce/ [6] http://www.yourtango.com/2014221968/why-my-fairytale-marriage-ended-divorce [7] http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/contact/ [8] http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/effects/social/stigma-of-divorce-still-exists.aspx?artid=275

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

Valentine's Day represents any number of things for people in different life situations, ranging from a distasteful Hallmark holiday, to a day for extravagantly showering loved ones with creative expressions of love. Children too have their own perspectives and ups and downs relating to this holiday of love. Here’s a Valentine's Day Guide for Parents to help your children learn about, and experience, the true meaning of “I ♥ U” this Valentine’s Day. Children’s Perspectives on Valentine's Day For very young children, it's sometimes a day where mommy and daddy get a baby sitter, or maybe there’s a special meal with the family, or possibly fun activities like making a card for Grandma or Aunt Sue. As children grow up and reach school age, there are additions to the mix. There are typically celebrations in the classroom, maybe small gifts to and from family and friends, or perhaps even a party at home. As pre-teens and teens, thoughts of a boyfriend/girlfriend enter the picture. There might even be a date or exchange of “love” letters. Throughout this progression of a child’s maturity, their perspective on Valentine's Day is shaped and influenced by the actions and perspectives of their peers, parents and partners. Parental Perspectives on Valentine's Day For parents, Valentine’s Day typically falls into one of two categories – “Love it” or “Hate it”. Your perspective on this day was shaped and influenced by the same forces your children are now experiencing. Remember, as parents, we transmit values to our children through our behavior. Whether you love it or hate it, your feelings about Valentine’s Day now determines the way you celebrate this day with your children, and therefore influences their perspective on not just Valentine’s Day, but LOVE itself. The True Meaning of Love on Valentine’s Day Amid all this is the underlying fact that love isn't all about the Hallmark cards and the gushy stuff. Love, as a feeling and emotion, is what most of us think of each Valentine's Day, but love is often an act. Sometimes even a self-sacrificing act. To quote singer/songwriter John Mayer, “Love ain't a thing, Love is a verb [1]”. Think back to grade school. Do you remember having to give a card to everyone, and wishing you didn't have to give one to any of the boys, or wanting to leave that one kid off the list because you really didn't like her? This may have been your first exposure to love as an act – giving even though you didn't feel like you wanted to. As you got older, was there an time when you noticed that one of the other kids didn't get as many candy hearts as others? Did you give some of yours away? According to therapist and advice columnist, Stacy Notaras Murphy, quoted in a Washington Post interview [2], “…teens who don’t receive a red rose on Valentine’s Day in the school’s flower sale may take it harder if, say, mom made a big deal about not getting exactly the right type of floral arrangement for her own Valentine’s Day year after year. This is another great opportunity to teach kids that love is shown through actions, not items.” This Valentine's Day, you can help your children form a positive perception of Valentine’s Day. Help them to practice deliberate acts of kindness. Help them to see that true love isn't all in the kissing/hugging (although that's good too), or in the cards and gifts (again nothing wrong here), or even in the events of the day (still good things). True love is in the acts that show love – especially sacrificial love. Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show your children the true value and meaning of love. Valentine’s Day Guide for Parents: Getting Started Spend some time doing activities with your children that they enjoy. For example: Make valentine's cards, bake or cook a special meal together (and then share in the eating), play games, build a fort, read together. Offer to help your children with a task that they don't enjoy doing or that they find difficult. For example: Homework and chores. You might have to search to find what would really help them out, but that's part of the gift of love. “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” together. For example: Sort through your children’s toys together and have them choose one toy that will be given to someone special, or donated. Help your children dig below the surface of a friendship or relationship to articulate expressions of love. For example: Help them share with someone what exactly they appreciate most about that person. I.e., "I love you because _____" or, “I like _____ about you”. Here, the reason is the important thing – it's all too easy to just say, “I love/like you”. And don’t forget, children need physical connection [3] too. The more they’re touched in positive, appropriate ways, the more they thrive. A hug is a great way to express emotions, and almost always warms the heart.   Image credit: © Melissa King [4] | Dreamstime Stock Photos [5] [1] http://youtu.be/V1wFvuF9LTc [2] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/valentines-day-parents-should-celebrate-no-matter-how-busy-their-schedules/2012/02/10/gIQANs4hDR_blog.html [3] http://www.parentfurther.com/resources/enewsletter/archive/power-of-touch [4] http://www.dreamstime.com/melking_info [5] http://www.dreamstime.com/

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

Spring has sprung, as the saying goes, and with it the season for celebrating life and new beginnings. April, specifically, is the month where Americans celebrate life and the health of our great planet with two related (although sometimes overlooked) holidays: National Earth Day and National Arbor Day. Arbor Day [Last Friday in April] Started in 1872 as a day to plant trees; the first Arbor Day event was held in Nebraska where they planted more than one million trees. While the primary focus is still about planting trees, there are now many other programs and activities relating to Arbor Day. Visit the Arbor Day Foundation [1] for celebration events and ideas including stewardship, information sharing, writing, and even concerts — all dedicated to trees and plants. Earth Day [April 22nd] Earth Day is in its 45th year of celebration. While this day is about so much more than just trees, one of the main programs, called The Canopy Project [2], is to plant a billion trees worldwide. Other projects include everything from air to waste: saving endangered species, promoting global clean air, environmental education, reducing energy use, recycling, and more. Our nation will be celebrating Earth Day at the Washington D.C. Mall this year on Saturday, April 18th, and celebrations in California [3] as well as National celebrations can be found on the earthday.org [4] website. Celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day with your kids If you have children, or grandchildren, these two days provide wonderful opportunities for celebrating life together. In the San Diego area, one of the biggest celebrations combines both of these National Holidays and more: EarthFair [5]. Annually held at Balboa Park, this year's festivities will be on Sunday, April 19th from 10am-5pm. There will be exhibits, food, children’s activity areas, entertainment, and even a parade. If you can’t make it to a local celebration, you can still celebrate life and the purpose of both these national holidays by planting a tree, starting a compost bin, or even just doing some gardening around your house. Here are a few additional ideas you might enjoy with your children: Give the kids a shovel and plant a tree in your yard. Sign the kids up for Membership at the Arbor Day Foundation [6] and, among the many other benefits of membership, they’ll even give you 10 free trees to plant! Sprout seeds in a jar together, or grow your own avocado tree from a seed [7]. Go for a walk in the local park to pick up litter (take a ride on a swing while you’re there). Set up a recycling station in the garage, then practice basketball shots with tin cans. Instead of driving, take a bike ride or a hike to spend some time in the great outdoors.   Whether you have children or not, and whatever you choose to do this Earth Day and Arbor Day, there are plenty of ways to celebrate. So step outside for some fresh air, celebrate life, and enjoy all the new beginnings the season holds. [1] http://www.arborday.org/ [2] http://www.earthday.org/campaign/canopy-project [3] http://www.earthday.org/greencities/events/#United States [4] http://www.earthday.org/ [5] http://www.earthdayweb.org/EarthFair.html [6] http://www.arborday.org/members/index.cfm [7] http://www.californiaavocado.com/how-tos/your-own-avocado-tree

Abuse/Domestic Violence


 

© 2017 Garwood Attorneys | Julia M. Garwood, APLC. All Rights Reserved.

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