Julia M. Garwood

Top rated Family Law attorney in San Diego, California

Garwood Reeves, ALC
Julia M. Garwood
Garwood Reeves, ALC

Practice Areas: Family Law; view more

Licensed in California since: 1981

Education: California Western School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2012, 2014 - 2024

Garwood Reeves, ALC

1450 Frazee Road
Suite 711
San Diego, CA 92108 Visit website


In 1989, Julia M. Garwood, Esq., CFLS founded Garwood Reeves, ALC in San Diego, California. Certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, she has faithfully represented the best interests of her clients in San Diego County and throughout California for more than 40 years. In addition, her tenure as a mediator and as an acting settlement judge gives her a unique perspective on each case as she fights for her clients' rights.

Ms. Garwood handles a wide variety of family law matters, ranging from divorce litigation and mediation to child and pet custody issues. Having earned the respect of her peers and colleagues as both a formidable litigator and compassionate advocate, she has been awarded an AV-Preeminent* rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Admitted to practice before all state courts in California, Ms. Garwood also is licensed to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a current member of the San Diego County Bar Association and has held several different positions of authority with that organization. She is a member of both the American Bar Association and the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Michigan.  She has been on the Executive Board of the San Diego Family Law Bar Association five times and is chair of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee (i .e. mediation).  She is a member of Lawyers Club of San Diego, Inc., California Women Lawyers and California Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.  She also served on the Board of trustees of the San Diego Jewish Academy. She is a member of the Bench-Bar Coalition of California (BBC), composed of Judges and leaders of local and statewide Bar Associations and legal service organizations. This Bar Association is designed to enhance communication, perform legislative outreach and coordinate activities of the judicial community with the state. Lastly, she was nominated and is currently a lifetime Fellow of the American Bar Association Foundation.

Ms. Garwood received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, degree from Michigan State University in 1973 and earned her Juris Doctorate degree from California Western School of Law in 1979. She was an instructor of law at Grossmont College and held a position as an adjunct professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.   Ms. Garwood is a Real Estate Broker and General Contractor, licensed by the State of California.

*AV-Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories—legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Family Law

Focus areas

Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Father's Rights, Juvenile Law, Marital Property, Mediation & Collaborative Law, Name Change, Paternity, Prenuptial Agreements, Same Sex Family Law

  • 100% Family Law

First Admitted: 1981, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/firm-overview/our-team/julia...

  • Top Attorney in Southern California, 2015; Client Distinction Award (for client satisfaction), 2015; Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, 2014; Client Satisfaction Award by American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2014
  • AV Preeminent® is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence. The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada., AV Preeminent® - Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, Martindale-Hubbell, 2013
Firm News (Newsletters):
  • Happy Women’s History Month! 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., Inspirational Single Moms: Past and Current
  • 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, the Roman god of transitions and beginnings. It’s no surprise then, that approximately 45% of Americans 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. 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., New Year’s Resolutions – Positive Changes for the New Year
  • Marriages are typically celebrated. Divorces tend to be mourned. For many, the topic of divorce is still taboo – even though the U.S. divorce rate is 3.6 per 1,000 people(compared with a 6.8 marriage rate). Recently, divorced women and men have decided to remove the stigma related to divorce and to instead focus on their newfound independence. How? By throwing divorce parties!, Divorce Parties: Celebrating Your Personal Independence
  • 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., Celebrating Life: Earth Day and Arbor Day
  • 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, 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., Family Caregiving and Divorce
  • Just how difficult serving divorce papers on your spouse proves to be will largely depend on how amenable he or she is to your decision. If you’re both in agreement on the matter, it’s really just a formality; if your spouse wants to delay the proceedings, they may make themselves scarce to avoid being served. Wherever your situation falls on this spectrum, knowing the WhoWhat, and How of serving divorce papers will make the process smoother, and ensure that you fulfill the legal requirements for notifying your spouse of your decision to file for divorce., Serving Divorce Papers: What, Who, and How?, Divorce, Legal, Family Law, Divorce Advice
  • Getting engaged is exciting! You are planning to spend the rest of your life with the one you love, but there is so much to do before the wedding., After Yes But Before You Say I Do: What to Know About Prenuptial Agreements
  • In the state of California, child support is calculated pursuant to a mathematical formula. While income from all sources is taken into consideration, the starting point for the calculation is the gross monthly income of each parent. If the parties are W-2 wage earners, determining the gross monthly income is relatively easy. If the calculation is performed at the beginning of the year, we will usually rely upon the parents’ prior year’s W-2 which reflects their gross annual income. The gross annual income reflected thereon is divided by 12 months to arrive at an average monthly gross income. Regarding W-2 income, there are often times two figures reflected on the form; a taxable annual gross income and a non-taxable annual income. For child support calculation purposes, the non-taxable amount is the correct number to be used., The California Child Support Formula
  • Tax season is just around the corner, and divorce can make preparing and filing your taxes tricky. In particular, if you’re paying or receiving spousal support, there are a few things to keep in mind during this season of reported incomes and deductions., Preparing for Tax Season: Taxes & Spousal Support
  • On November 11th our nation will celebrate Veterans Day—a day to recognize the men and women who have served in our nation’s military, whether during peacetime or war. According to a Regional Chamber of Commerce report on Military Employment in San Diego (PDF), approximately 13% of San Diego County residents are veterans, the third largest military veteran population in the nation. With such a large veteran population, it is inevitable that issues regarding military benefits are raised during divorce proceedings . Garwood Family Law and Mediation appreciates the sacrifices that have been made by those who have served in our armed forces and their families. In a previous article, we discussed the general rules regarding the division of military pensions. In honor of Veterans Day, this article discusses the treatment of veteran disability benefits in divorce proceedings., Veteran Disability Benefits in Divorce Proceedings
  • Co-parenting after a divorce can be a difficult – especially at the beginning. You and your ex need to make many decisions regarding your child(ren), including visitation schedules and what religious beliefs they should follow. There is a point that these two concepts collide: adding religious holidays to your visitation schedule., How Religious Holidays Fit into Child Custody Visitation Schedule
  • Surviving the death of a spouse and surviving a divorce are very different experiences, the transition process has some overlap. The challenging common thread for older adults is remembering how to live your life on your own. This can be a difficult transition at any time, but can be particularly complicated late in life after many years together. Whether you are mourning the death of a spouse later in life or are dealing with a gray divorce, there are things you can do to make your transition easier., Surviving Divorce and Death: A Guide for Older Adults
  • Fathers in the midst of a divorce face a unique set of challenges when it comes to questions of paternity and child custody rights. In the eyes of the world and the courts, fatherhood is a lot less definitive than motherhood. In child custody cases, there are often doubts or disputes regarding a child’s paternity. Whether you’re trying to prove or disprove the paternity of a child, there are some important things to keep in mind regarding paternity custody rights., Fatherhood and Divorce – The Question of Paternity Custody Rights
  • If the relationship between you and your ex has been strained since the divorce, you might be secretly jumping for joy. It sure could make things a lot easier not having to deal with a contentious ex for coordinating visitations. And it’s also quite natural to feel a bit of personal triumph knowing that your child “chooses you” over your ex. Or perhaps you and your ex have a wonderfully amicable co-parenting situation, and everything’s been going just fine. Then out of the blue your child starts balking every time it’s time to visit your ex, or has even begun refusing to go. If you’re like most parents, you might begin wondering if there’s something going on at the ex’s you don’t know about. Maybe your ex is dating again and your child doesn’t like the new partner? Maybe your ex is ignoring them when they’re staying over? Maybe your ex has started drinking again? Maybe… Maybe… Maybe… Take a deep breath and reign your fears in. The first thing to do is get some facts to understand the situation and know how to respond to your child’s desire not to visit your ex anymore., When Your Child Doesn’t Want To Visit Your Ex Anymore
  • Generally called an FRC, it’s also known as a Family Resolution Conference but officially called a Family Centered Case Resolution Conference. The various titles can be confusing for anyone going through the divorce process, but an FRC is quite simply a case management conference to take care of logistical and procedural matters., What is a Family Resolution Conference (FRC)?
  • Parenting is a rewarding and challenging experience; a blessing with lots of responsibility — and lots of challenges. July is Purposeful Parenting month, a time dedicated to raising awareness for parents about creating intentional, positive relationships with children. Purposeful parenting becomes especially important for divorcing or divorced parents. Children have a basic need for love and security and are especially sensitive to temperament changes of the home. Changes in routine or the absence of another parent can lead to a child’s negativity, acting out, self-doubt, feelings of abandonment, and many other issues common among children of divorced parents. Purposeful Parenting through divorce is one way to help your children navigate this transition in their lives, while fostering a close, caring and loving relationship between you and your children., 5 Tips For Purposeful Parenting Through Divorce
  • 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., Dating After Divorce: First Get Ready, Then Jump In!
  • Since Halloween isn’t typically a holiday considered as big as Christmas/Hanukkah or Thanksgiving, many divorce agreements don’t necessarily specify visitation on Halloween. If this day is not specified in the divorce agreement, then it usually falls default to whether or not it is a visitation day. This can get tricky when it comes to kids who want to go trick-or-treating., Trick-Or-Treating and the Ex: How to Make It Work
  • California, like many states, is a community property state. This quite simply means that – in general – everything that was acquired during the marriage belongs to both of you from the date of the marriage to the date of the separation. This could include tangible property acquisitions like boats and jewelry (even if they occurred while living in other states), non-tangible assets like bank accounts and stocks, and, yes, even debt., How to Avoid Litigation for Separate Property Disputes
  • Divorce doesn’t have to mean an end to your hopes of adopting, but you’ll need to know where you stand with regards to the rights of the biological parents and the decision of the court overseeing the adoption. If you have made the life-changing choice to adopt a child but have the complications of a divorce to contend with, there are some important things to know. Whether or not your pending adoption will be approved by the courts despite your changing situation depends on what type of adoption it is., Adoption and Divorce
  • It’s 2015 and, according to the APA, 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 division of marital assets can be difficult in any divorce. When one member of the couple is in the military, it can complicate things even more. Various additional factors come into play, including the proper division of a military pension., What You Need to Know about Military Pensions and Divorce
  • While many states recognize what’s known as a common law marriage, California is not one of those states. The issue of common law marriages, especially when getting a divorce, however is not necessarily a simple black and white matter., California Common Law Marriage & Divorce
  • 'Tis the season for getting engaged! According to aFairchild Bridal Group survey, November and December account for 26 percent of marriage proposals in the United States. This exciting occasion is filled with joy, life changes, and sometimes difficult subjects to broach – such as asking for a Prenuptial Agreement. While discussions about the wedding venue and guest list might prove to be difficult conversations, they can hardly be avoided. Unfortunately, the idea of discussing a prenuptial agreement is often so daunting that it gets put on the back burner or ignored completely. Many believe that simply having the conversation signifies doubt in the strength of the relationship and brings into question the character of your soon-to-be spouse. However, this stereotypical apprehension can be avoided. With a little preparation, you and your betrothed can have a loving conversation that will make you both feel good about having a prenuptial agreement for your marriage., How To Ask For A Prenuptial Agreement: 4 Easy Steps
  • If you live in California you already have a prenuptial agreement, whether you and your beloved sign one before saying “I do” or not. Surprised?It’s really not so surprising when you understand that the definition of a prenuptial (also known as a premarital agreement) is simply a set of rules and agreements regarding a couple’s present and future property rights, as well as other matters related to a domestic partnership or marriage. And California, along with all other U.S. states, already has a set of rules under California Family Code and Probate Code that will be used in the absence of a separate prenuptial agreement. Based on California community property law, all property acquired during the marriage is divided equally (50/50) upon divorce, and all property owned before the marriage is considered “separate property” and remains the original owner’s property upon divorce., Facts About California Prenuptial Agreements
  • April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Every year about 6 million children are abused in the United States – and these are just the reported cases. Each day five U.S. children are lost to abuse-related deaths.  We all need to play an active role in protecting these children. The first step in helping an abused or neglected child is recognizing the warning signs. Would you recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect if you saw them?, Recognize the Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • A divorce that involves child custody can be additionally complicated when the immigration status of you, your spouse, or your child is a factor. It is not uncommon for a divorcing parent to consider moving back to their native homeland outside the country, or even to simply want a fresh start somewhere else. The more common concerns surrounding immigration and divorce, however, revolve around what might happen to your children (and your, or their immigration status) if your current immigration status was granted based on marrying a U.S. citizen., Immigration and Divorce: Child Custody
  • From October through January the media bombards us with messages telling us to be “Merry”, “Jolly”, and “Full of Good Cheer”. But if you’re feeling like you have more in common with Scrooge, dreading the holidays and wishing that the whole ordeal were over, you’re not alone., Taking The Mask Off The Holiday Blues
  • For about the last 18 years, you have been taking care of your children. Typically you knew when they were home, if they were eating and sleeping properly, who their friends were, and everyday comings and goings. But when your child leaves for college, things change. You go from being a full-time parent to an empty nester. You may feel confused and overwhelmed by your child’s and your newfound “freedom.” Here are some tips to help you survive the transition to becoming an empty nester., The Kids Are Off to College: Tips for Empty Nesters
  • Parties to a dissolution are typically bettered served by reaching a settlement agreement between themselves versus having a trial judge make the decisions. There are three good reasons for this, and why settlement negotiations are encouraged., The Benefits of Negotiating Settlement Agreements
  • 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 Family Law and Mediation 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: How To Thrive During The Holidays When You’re Newly Divorced
  • The mercury is climbing and the sun is reluctant to hit the horizon these days. It’s summertime, and a perfect time for getting back to dating after divorce while the temperature’s hot.Feel the HeatSunscreen? Check. Towel? Check. Steamy romance novel? Check! Any summer adventure should begin with the right preparation. Getting your dating life started again is no different. Actually finding people to date may be as easy as an Internet search, but you’ll want to do a temperature check on where you’re at first to be sure you’re really ready to feel the heat and date again after your divorce., Getting Back to Dating for a Sizzling Hot Summer
  • It is tax season once again. In less than two months, you need to file your federal and state taxes. However, if you are recently divorced or in a committed same-sex relationship, there are some tax pitfalls that you need to avoid. Although the situations are different for divorcees and same-sex couples, there are three common tax traps – as highlighted below. Read more: http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/3-tax-traps-what-divorcees-and-lgbt-couples-need-to-know/, 3 Tax Traps: What Divorcees and LGBT Couples Need to Know
  • 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., Spring Cleaning for a New Life
  • Although April 15th is still months away, it is not too soon to be thinking about your taxes if you are in the middle of a divorce proceeding. The reason is simple: your tax filing status depends on whether you are still legallymarried on December 31st. It doesn’t matter to the IRS that you have filed for divorce, or that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have been living apart all year., California Divorce Bifurcation: Finalizing Your Divorce By End Of Year For Taxes
  • June is LGBT Pride month. The imminent Supreme Court decisions on two cases involving same-sex marriage (expected by the end of the month) may give the LGBT community an added reason to celebrate. The public opinion on same-sex marriage (or marriage equality) has been shifting over the years. For years, celebrities have weighed in on this, hoping to influence how others feel. In honor of LGBT Pride month, we are taking a look at where some celebrities stand., Taking a Look at Celebrities and Same-Sex Marriage
  • With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many people are beginning to think about all that the past year has brought for which they are thankful. However, if the past year brought divorce into your life, you may be struggling to feel grateful for the circumstances in which you find yourself.  As the quotation above suggests, psychologists agree that practicing gratitude is integral part of promoting well-being and happiness, and can even help you to heal the wounds from the end of your marriage.  Below are some tips to help you increase the gratitude in your life., Finding Gratitude in Your New Life After Divorce
  • When the days grow long and the nights grow warm, our thoughts naturally turn toward vacation. And as nice as it is at home, vacation often means travel. Increased security measures mean that travelling with children is safer these days, but they also mean more items on a to-do list when planning a vacation—especially overseas. And if you’re a divorced parent planning to travel with your child(ren), that checklist just got even longer. Here’s what you need to know about custody and travel before packing up your suitcases and heading out of town., Custody and Travel: Traveling With Children after Divorce
  • Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review two challenges to federal and state laws that limit civil marriage to the union of one man and one woman. This is the first time that the Supreme Court has weighed in on the topic of same-sex marriage., Understanding DOMA
  • March is Women’s History Month, and we would like to give recognition to a truly remarkable woman in law: Belva Ann Lockwood. Lockwood’s contributions to the legal profession, among many other accomplishments, include being one of the first female lawyers, the first woman allowed to argue in front of the United States Supreme Court, and the first female to run for president of the United States., Saluting Belva Ann Lockwood’s Contributions to the Legal Profession
  • Gay marriage was in the news quite a bit in June for more than one reason.  June was LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Pride Month in the United States, and it proved historic because this was the month in which the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.  This ruling drastically changed laws around the country.  It also provided reassurance for members of the LGBT community in California who are married.  LGBT married couples in California can now cross state lines and know that their marriages will be recognized anywhere in the United States.  That’s important for several reasons. In this blog, you’ll find a brief overview of what this ruling means with regards to married couples in California now that the acceptance of same-sex marriage is the law of the land., The U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage – What It Means in California
  • 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., How Not To Repeat The Problems Of Your First Marriage (Lessons from Groundhog Day)
  • If you have suffered from infidelity in your current or a past relationship, forgiveness might be the last thing you want to think about. While hurt and anger are normal reactions to cheating and betrayal, taking the mask off infidelity and working through your emotions is the first step to moving past the heartache for healing after infidelity., Taking The Mask Off And Healing After Infidelity
  • It’s graduation season – a time of celebration! From kindergarten to college, kids and young adults are donning caps and gowns and looking forward to ending one chapter in their lives and starting a new one. However, children of divorced parents may be more concerned about potential issues related to having their divorced parents attend the same ceremony than about the joy of graduation., Post-divorce Graduation: Keeping the Day Amicable
  • October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we here at Garwood Family Law and Mediation strongly believe that every man, woman, and child deserves to feel safe and secure in their own home.Domestic violence continues to be a prevalent problem with millions of people victimized each year, and over 75% of those victims with minor children in the home.   As staggering as the statistics are, they only tell part of the story because incidents of domestic violence, especially abuse that does not result in a serious physical injury, often go unreported.  But the statistics do show that it is likely that we will all be touched by domestic violence in some way—either by suffering from abuse ourselves, or by knowing someone who is a victim., How Do I Tell if Someone I Know is a Victim of Domestic Violence?
  • As the official LGBT Pride Month, June has long been a time for celebration and commemoration in the LGBT community and beyond. This year, however, marks an especially poignant anniversary, as one year ago on June 26, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage at the federal level. Since then, marriage equality has witnessed a veritable sea change at the state level as well, where its implications are most significant. , OMA One Year Later: Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce
  • Too often children feel lost and confused during their parents’ divorce, but grandparents can be a vital constant in their lives and can help them through this tough time. Here are seven ways you can support your grandchildren during a divorce and can continue to be a positive presence in their lives., 7 Ways You Can Support Your Grandchildren during a Divorce
  • 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., Valentine’s Day Guide for Parents
  • The reality of budgeting for your newly divorced lifestyle is that the same amount of income that used to maintain one household must now be stretched to support two households.  In most instances, money becomes tight during the divorce process.  As a result, there is rarely enough money to meet both parties’ needs.  In that the divorce process can last for months and, in some instances, even years, a firm handle on your personal finances is not only helpful, but necessary. The starting point is the preparation of a realistic budget for newly divorced lifestyles.  You must keep in mind that you may not be able to afford everything you enjoyed while living together as a married couple.  After it is determined how much income is available to you, your initial budget may be need to be adjusted., Budgeting For Your Newly Divorced – Independent – Lifestyle
  • Of primary importance in any divorce is the well being of the children. Therefore, drug and alcohol abuse by a parent, legal custodian, person seeking guardianship, or person seeking visitation in a guardianship, can certainly impact California child custody and visitation rights. It’s important that issues of substance abuse are addressed fully as grounds for limited custody and visitation rights. While the safety of the children is always a concern for the State, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a parent who is suffering from addiction will be automatically disqualified from custody and visitation rights., How Does Substance Abuse Affect Child Custody & Visitation Rights?
  • Everyone needs support at one time or another. Whether that’s help learning to tie your shoes as a child, or a shoulder to lean on in difficult times as an adult, life transitions can be much easier with a little support from others. Thankfully, in San Diego there are many local resources for support during your divorce., San Diego Resources For Support During Your Divorce
  • Regardless of employment status, being a mom is hard work - and often an undervalued position. Isn't it time you showed your mom (or the mother of your children) how much you appreciate her vital role in the family?, Celebrating Mom – Ways to Show You Appreciate Her
  • 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 (5/11) and National Teacher’s Day (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., Celebrate Your Child’s Teacher Together
  • 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 Your Divorce Gets Ugly
  • Very rarely do marriages fall apart overnight. You may not realize it right away, but your marriage could be starting to crumble. It starts small and begins to build the longer you let things progress. Too often, when couples notice marital problems they give up. In fact, the Census Bureau estimates that about 46 percent of recently married couples will not reach their 25thanniversary. If you are noticing that your marriage is starting to have more problems and are considering the possibility of divorce, it’s not too late. You can still fight to save your marriage. Here are some tips to save your failing marriage., Have You Fought Hard Enough? Turning Around Your Failing Marriage
  • Determining the amount of child support to be paid is relatively straightforward. In California, the family courts apply the California Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are a mathematical formula designed to include an obligor parent’s contribution toward the child’s basic necessities such as food, shelter and transportation. Also included in the Guidelines formula is the obligor parent’s contribution to such things as the child’s clothing and entertainment., Deducting Expenses From Child Support Payments
  • When couples enter into a marriage there are very few that consider the implications of this binding contract coming to an end. A majority of future spouses don’t even consider a prenuptial agreement. This means that in the unfortunate event of a divorce, couples are left to decide the division of their property while emotions are still running high. If your marriage is over, the next decision to be made is about what separation of assets process works best for you: mediation or litigation., Complex Property Division – The Ins and Outs
  • From the beach to the books, this transition is a “bummer” for most school-aged kids, but for parents it’s often a relief. When kids are back in school, schedules normalize, routines get back in place, and the possibility of those pesky water-balloon ambushes decreases. Of course, along with that also comes the frantic back-to-school shopping, planning, and yes, dealing with “the ex” if you’re divorced with shared custody. Here are some tips to help make the transition back to school easier for both children and parents., Back-To-School Transition Relief
  • If your divorce is forcing you to work, but you need a job that allows you to still be home with your children, consider starting your own business. This allows you to make money and take care of your kids. Read more: http://www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/mompreneurs-staying-home-and-working-after-your-divorce/, Mompreneurs: Staying Home and Working after Your Divorce
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Executive Committee, Family Law Specialists, 2007 - Present
  • Lawyer's Club of San Diego, Inc., 1981 - Present
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1982
  • Secretary, Lawyer's Club of San Diego, Inc., 1983 - 1985
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Membership Committee, 1986
  • California Women Lawyers Association, 1981 - Present
  • Chair, San Diego County Bar Association, Blood Bank Committee, 1985 - 1999
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Executive Committee, Family Law Specialists, 2000 - 2001
  • State Bar of California, 1981 - Present
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1981
  • Board of Directors, Lawyer's Club of San Diego, Inc., 1983 - 1987
  • Member, San Diego County Bar Association, Public Information and Relations Committee, 1983 - 1984
  • California Trial Lawyers Association
  • Board Member, San Diego Family Law Bar Association, 2013 to present
  • Foothills Bar Association of San Diego County
  • Chairperson, San Diego County Bar Association, Family Law Committee, 1999 - 2001
  • American Bar Associations, 1981 - Present
  • California, 1981
  • Member, Lawyer's Club of San Diego, Inc., Newspaper Committee, 1983 - 1984
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
  • Chairperson, Lawyer's Club of San Diego, Inc., Employment Committee, 1983 - 1985
  • Chair, San Diego County Bar Association, Public Relations Committee, 1985
  • San Diego Consumer Lawyers Association
  • Co-Chair and Chair, San Diego County Bar Association
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Member, Cardozo Society, 2000
  • California Western School of Law Alumni Association, 1981 - Present
  • Jewish Federation, Women's Division, 1990 - 2005
  • Member, California State Bar Board of Governors Acknowledgement and Commendation for Voluntary Legal Services, 1984 - 1987
  • San Diego Jewish Academy Board of Trustees, 1998 - 2000
  • General Contractor, California, 1981 - Present
  • Alumni Association of Michigan State University, 1981 - Present
  • Judge Pro Tem, Acting Settlement Judge
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Instructor in Law, Grossmont College, 1984 - 1986
  • Adjunct Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 1989-1991
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Specialist, Domestic Relations - Family Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, 1995 - Present
Educational Background:
  • Michigan State University, B.A., Cum Laude, 1973
  • Fathers wrongly accused of abuse need to fight false accusations of spousal abuse or child abuse.The courts will look at things like prior criminal records, and whether or not you’ve had a past drug history, but they’ll also consider your character now. There are are several things you can do such as getting declarations from co-workers, church associates, or other reliable character witnesses, offer to take a drug test to prove you’re not on drugs, attend parenting classes, and more. Do everything you can to build a solid case to avoid “he-said/she-said” disputes and ensure that your rights are protected., Fathers Wrongly Accused of Abuse, 2015
  • Filing for divorce has numerous implications regarding how you file your taxes. Child custody, income tax exemptions, property, and other factors can all play a role. Also, if you are still legally married on December 31 of a year, you still need to file as "married" -- even if your divorce is finalized before Tax Day. Get more information in this video from family law attorney Julia M. Garwood., What You Need to Know About Filing Your Taxes After a Divorce
  • Is it okay to date before your divorce is final? The answer is yes. California is a no-fault divorce state, so whether you date or not, is a personal decision and not an issue before the Court. The real question is, “should you be dating during a divorce?” and what are the possible ramifications for your divorce proceedings. When dating during a divorce you might want to keep it quiet so that you don’t incite the other party and make it more difficult to settle your case. Learn more in this video about dating during a divorce., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdgmW-LyYJw
  • Child support is set by mandatory guidelines by the State of California. Because of this, online child support calculators are not a viable source for calculating the amount of child support to be paid. Also, there are various ways to collect on child support – some of which are a lot easier. When it comes to your rights concerning child support, you need to consult with an experienced attorney., Properly Calculating California Child Support Payment
  • It’s wise to modify a divorce agreement when the facts change. For example, if your ex-spouse makes more money now, it may be time for him or her to pay more child or spousal support. Or if childcare arrangements change and the kids need to spend more time with one parent, custody or visitation rights may need to be altered. Whatever the modification, both ex-spouses need to follow strict instructions in order to successfully change the agreement in California. For this reason, it’s highly advisable to hire a professional, preferably a Certified Family Law Specialist, who knows what he or she is doing., When and How to Modify a Divorce Agreement
  • In California there are several options for dividing pensions after you get divorced. What if you have several IRAs? Can you divide a Defined Benefit Plan? Family law attorney Julia M. Garwood discusses the basics of dividing pensions after a divorce according to California divorce law., Dividing Pensions After a Divorce
  • Not every lawyer is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS). The State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization grants special certification to qualified lawyers in the practice of family law. These Certified Family Law Specialists must pass rigorous requirements, including hundreds of hearings and trials and arduous exams, as well as prove expertise in every area of California family law, including divorce, child support and custody, spousal support, and more. You’ll be in extremely competent hands if you hire a CFLS as your family law attorney., What is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS)?
  • Certified Family Law Specialist Julia M. Garwood discusses additional fears that people face when thinking about getting a divorce. She covers the impact of divorce on your children, how to combat the stigma of divorce, and the cost of spousal support. Seek the advice of a San Diego divorce attorney or CFLS, who can help you make informed decisions and minimize the pain during this period of your life., Common Divorce Fears: Part II
  • Filing for paternity means that you are naming the father of your child when you are not married to that person. Both parents are allowed to file for paternity, but it’s not required by law to do so. It’s important to realize that if you file for paternity, you may receive child support, but you will also most likely have to share child custody and visitation with that person., www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/filing-for-paternity/
  • Preparing to leave your spouse is all about strategy. In this second part of a two-part video blog, Julia M. Garwood discusses some additional strategies for when preparing to leave your spouse. What do you take with you if you’re planning to leave? What if your ex won’t let you back in to get other things? Here’s how and what to plan for in advance. Watch this video to learn more and please contact us to speak with a qualified divorce attorney about a strategy for your own unique situation if you’re considering leaving, or preparing to leave, your spouse., Preparing to Leave Your Spouse – Part Two
  • California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that no proof is needed and anyone can get a divorce regardless of whether the other party is in agreement or not. Uncontested divorces are simply marital settlements that are agreed to by both parties. Regardless of whether your case is uncontested or not, there are issues – that you may not have thought of – that can be put into your marital settlement. This is important because certain issues not included may mean that the other party can take you to court. Watch this video to learn more about the difference between Uncontested and No-fault Divorce cases and please contact Contact us at Garwood Family Law & Mediation or be sure to seek the counsel of a professional divorce or mediation attorney in your area who can advise you based on your own unique situation., Uncontested vs No-fault Divorce in California, 2014
  • What should you do when you have custody and court order compliance issues? You can address the issues with the court, try to get the court order modified, or even file contempt charges. Many options are going to need proof of a problem, and a “he said/she said” probably won’t be enough. Keeping records like a journal will help. Also, don’t forget that many times you need to pick your battles. There are many strategies, but it is best to seek the advise of a family law attorney to make your plan., Custody and Court Order Compliance Issues, 2015
  • Managing extended family issues and positive co-parenting after divorce is important for the sake of your children. Getting along with your ex supports your child’s happiness, well-being and sense of security. Often there are issues with extended family members though. Remember, the courts are interested in determining what is in the best interest of the children. If there are extended family members that are of concern, you can bring that to the attention of the court and stipulate that certain people are not to be watching the child or allowed to be alone with the child., Managing Extended Family Issues & Co-Parenting After Divorce, 2015
  • The amount of visitation time spent with your child(ren) may reduce the amount of your child support obligation. This is because “Time Share” is one of the components factored into the child support calculation, and it’s assumed that the more time you spend with your child(ren) the more expenses you’re incurring. Learn more in this video as Janiffer Pearce of Garwood Family Law & Mediation discusses visitation time and child support., Does Visitation Time Affect How Much I Pay In Child Support?
  • There are circumstances that allow you to file for divorce yourself. However, if you and your spouse do not agree on terms of the divorce, have been married for more than five years, have children, or have other issues that require a contested divorce, you will need to go through the steps for a marriage dissolution., The Basic Steps of a Marriage Dissolution, 2013
  • For many of us, pets are valued members of the family…so who will get the family pet in a divorce? Pets are considered personal property by California courts. The court will look at various factors when determining where these beloved animals end up — they can look at who owns the pure bred title, what would be best for the pet, and if children are involved, what would be best for the children. Find out more about pet custody after divorce in this video with family law attorney Julia M. Garwood., Who Will Keep the Family Pet in a Divorce?
  • It’s wise to modify a divorce agreement when the facts change. For example, if your ex-spouse makes more money now, it may be time for him or her to pay more child or spousal support. Or if childcare arrangements change and the kids need to spend more time with one parent, custody or visitation rights may need to be altered. Whatever the modification, both ex-spouses need to follow strict instructions in order to successfully change the agreement in California. For this reason, it’s highly advisable to hire a professional, preferably a Certified Family Law Specialist, who knows what he or she is doing., When and How to Modify a Divorce Agreement
  • In this video, Certified Family Law Specialist Julia M. Garwood covers the steps to handling domestic violence. If you are in an abusive situation, or are a victim of domestic violence you need to get out, Please call 911 for immediate protection. If you are being falsely accused of domestic violence, you must fight it! Being charged will haunt you for the rest of your life., How to Handle Domestic Violence, 2013
  • Not every lawyer is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS). The State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization grants special certification to qualified lawyers in the practice of family law. These Certified Family Law Specialists must pass rigorous requirements, including hundreds of hearings and trials and arduous exams, as well as prove expertise in every area of California family law, including divorce, child support and custody, spousal support, and more. You’ll be in extremely competent hands if you hire a CFLS as your family law attorney., What is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS)?
  • 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. 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., How to Handle Child Abuse
  • e very careful about your electronic communications in divorce proceedings, paternity cases, and especially cases involving children. Electronic communication includes social media postings, e-mail correspondence, and even text messaging! All forms of electronic communication can be admissible in court, including copies of text messages, and cases are often won (or lost) based on electronic communications. Watch this video to learn more and speak to a qualified divorce attorney or Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) to understand how electronic communications may affect your case in California., Electronic Communications in Divorce Proceedings, 2014
  • When children are involved in a divorce, shared parenting terms need to be addressed in your marital settlement (divorce) agreement. Some are mandated by statute – such as who will carry the child on their health insurance and that each party will pay 1/2 of uncovered medical bills. A few other terms to consider which aren’t necessarily mandated by statute include agreements regarding college savings (is there a 529 Account, or will you use the Uniform Gift to Minors Act?), extracurricular activities (who will take to practices, games, and how much will each parent pay towards the activities, etc.?), what school will the children attend? Again, these are just a few of the shared parenting terms to consider for including in your marriage settlement agreement. Watch this video to learn more and please contact us to speak with a qualified divorce attorney about terms to include in your divorce agreement based on your own unique situation., Shared Parenting Terms for Your Divorce Agreement
  • Supervised Visitation: What does it mean? What types are there? Why do you have it?Typically court-ordered, supervised visitation by an independent 3rd party is usually mandated when there is question about abuse, violence, or in general the child’s safety with the parent. Watch this video to learn the answer to “What is supervised visitation?” and please contact us at Garwood Family Law & Mediation or be sure to seek the counsel of a Certified Family Law Specialist in your area who can advise you based on your own unique situation., What is Supervised Visitation?
  • Leaving your house and personal possessions, or even leaving your children or pets with your ex when you’re moving out of the house to get a divorce isn’t really considered abandonment in California divorces or dissolutions. Remember, in California there are only two grounds for a divorce: irreconcilable differences andinsanity. Abandonment doesn’t really apply in the general instance of property in California. However, if children are involved and you are planning to leave your residence, take them with you to wherever you’ll be staying if at all possible. There are additional strategies to consider as well., What is considered “Abandonment” in California divorces or dissolutions?, 2015
  • San Diego, California divorce lawyer-mediator Julia M. Garwood is a Certified Family Law Specialist who has worked in the field of divorce and family law for more than 25 years. She offers her clients a unique blend of experience, knowledge, and sensitivity. You can reach this San Diego, CA divorce attorney-mediator at (619) 692-8100. Please see video for more information!, Julia M. Garwood, APLC
  • Not everyone is entitled to spousal support (alimony) – no matter how long you have been married. If you are entitled to receive alimony, there are various factors that determine how much spousal support you will receive and how long you are eligible to receive it. Watch this video to learn more about spousal support in San Diego County., Am I Entitled to Spousal Support or Alimony?
  • There are huge differences between divorce mediation and litigation, including costs and parties involved. However, mediation and litigation are not always mutually exclusive. Learn more about the divorce processes of mediation and litigation from Certified Family Law Specialist Julia M. Garwood., Divorce Process: Difference between Mediation and Litigation
  • In California, spousal support comes in varied shapes and sizes and there are many ways to get creative with your settlement arrangements. Spousal support can be bought out in a lump sum or payable over many years, and it’s even tax deductible most of the time. Ex-spouses can also make custom arrangements­­ – for example, one spouse can pay the other’s bills or tuition costs, or pay more up front and less and less as time goes on. In this video, Julia M. Garwood, Certified Family Law Specialist, introduces the basics of spousal support and how to get creative with them to best suite your individual needs., Getting Creative with Spousal Support in California
  • A trial separation simply means that you are and your spouse are trying out separation before getting a legal separation or divorce – there is no court involved, you’re simply seeing how it works out for your marriage. There are legal ramifications you may encounter down the road though (dividing assets, child custody issues, etc.), so be sure to seek the advice of a trusted attorney before starting a trial separation., Tips to Consider before a Trial Separation
  • In this two-part video, San Diego divorce attorney Julia M. Garwood discusses common fears many have when starting the divorce process. Many people feel like they will lose half of everything they own, never see their children again, and be alone for the rest of their lives. These painful experiences do NOT have to be true for you. A skilled divorce lawyer or family attorney will be able to guide you through these obstacles so that you can start living your life again., www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/common-divorce-fears-part-1/
  • 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. 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., How to Handle Child Abuse
  • Preparing to leave your spouse is all about strategy. In this first part of a two-part video blog, Julia M. Garwood discusses some initial things to think about in planning a strategy for leaving your spouse. When and how to tell your spouse depends on how they might react, but if they might react violently consider planning to take a mini-vacation, or stay with some friends at the same time you serve and file to allow for emotions to settle a bit. Watch this video to learn more and please Contact Us or speak with a qualified divorce attorney to discuss a strategy for your own unique situation if you’re considering leaving, or preparing to leave, your spouse., Preparing to Leave Your Spouse – Part One
  • There are two different types of child custody: Legal and Physical. And there’s “Joint” and “Sole” custody for both types. Legal Custody involves decisions that are going to be made by the parents; usually health, education, and welfare. Joint Legal Custody is typically awarded if both parents are shown to be responsible. Physical Custody refers to who the children are living with, and again, either “Joint” or “Sole” custody can be awarded to one or both parents. If the children are primarily living with one parent, that party will have Sole Physical Custody. If the timeshare is closer to 50-50, then the parents will have shared, or Joint Physical Custody. This gets complicated in move-away cases, and there are many factors involved in determining both legal and physical custody. Watch this video to learn more about the difference between legal and physical custody and please contact us to speak with a qualified divorce attorney about the legal and physical custody options based on your own unique situation., www.garwoodfamilylaw.com/difference-between-legal-and-physical-custody/
  • A minor child does not directly decide which parent they live with, however, they can often have their desires made known to the court. If they are over 13 years of age, this can be done by direct testimony; sometimes the judge will even allow younger children’s testimony to be presented – especially if they are very mature. A second method of getting the child’s desires presented, is by having a representative from Family Court Services relay information gathered during their interview with the child. The last possibility is by the assigning of a Minor’s Counsel – a legal representative of the child(ren) only., Can a Minor Child Decide Which Parent They Live With?, 2015
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Office location for Julia M. Garwood

1450 Frazee Road
Suite 711
San Diego, CA 92108

Phone: 619-692-8100


15 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2012, 2014 - 2024

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