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Julia M. Garwood is a San Diego County family law attorney and mediator who is also a Certified Family Law Specialist. This designation tells you that Ms Garwood has met the rigorous standards set by the California State Bar for education, experience, and knowledge in the field. In the same way marriage should be based on trust, so should your relationship with your attorney. It’s a two-way street: you have to feel comfortable with your attorney, and he or she has to feel comfortable with you. Ms Garwood treats her client like her sister, her brother, herself.


Ms Garwood is also a former adjunct professor at a local law school, where she taught professional responsibility to future lawyers. "I’ve seen it all," she says. "I know what’s reasonable. I know the judges, and I usually know how they’re going to react to a case. Many of them also trust me to such an extent that they know if I’m putting something in front of them to sign, they can feel comfortable doing so because I’m not going to give them something that’s unacceptable. It is the same when I argue in front of them." As an acting settlement judge and an attorney who is often chosen by the courts to represent minor children, Ms. Garwood prefers to settle her cases amicably, however, she will listen to her client when tempering the strategy of her case.


At the initial consultation, Ms. Garwood typically will first ask if you have any major issues you’d like to talk about. Ms. Garwood will go through your assets and explore any issues that may exist with regards to the children -- then she will tell you what you can expect. She usually knows but will also get to know the opposing side (if she doesn’t) as well, so she’ll know how to best handle the case. She has a sixth sense. Once she is told a couple of things, she can usually tell how the opposing party will react. This helps her to strategize the case. Then she gets into what you want. At this time, Ms. Garwood will recommend a complete course of action for you, whether that involves traditional litigation, mediation, or Collaborative Law. If it changes, it changes, but this approach works best. She has honed her skills over the years and is able to take what she has learned and maximize the benefits for her clients. She then explains the process to you and tells you what you can expect.


Ms. Garwood will partner with you to help you through the strain of the divorce process. You’ll work as a team. She knows that any good attorney in San Diego County will mediate or settle a case if they can, so clients can get on with their lives. 

But when the other side is being irrational or appears to be unwilling to settle, Ms. Garwood is not afraid to take the case to court.

Many attorneys are afraid to go to court. Ms Garwood is not. She is not going to waste her time and your money trying to settle something that’s not going to settle. She’ll keep pushing the case, and if it settles, great, if not, she’ll go to court. "It has been my experience that most people want the case over so they are very happy that the case has been going through the court processes, should settlement negotiations irretrievably break down."


According to Ms. Garwood a successful divorce is when you can walk away after it’s all over, and still meet that person on the street and greet them. If you have children, a successful divorce is one where you can go to your child’s wedding and treat one another with respect in front of the children. "I’m not saying you will be best friends with your former spouse. I am just pointing out that, emotionally, you have moved on in a good, non self-destructive way."


What sets this firm apart is that we quietly do very good work. "Our win rate is overwhelming." Ms Garwood tells her clients that there are emotional losers and emotional winners in divorce. She tries to make sure her clients are all emotional winners.



Julia M. Garwood is a family law attorney and mediator. Her Certified Family Law Specialist designation means she has met the rigorous standards set by the California State Bar. She is also a former adjunct professor at a local law school, where she taught professional responsibility to future lawyers. She has worked in the field of family law for more than 25 years. As an acting settlement judge and an attorney who is often chosen by the courts to represent minor children, Ms. Garwood knows how she herself would rule. Seeing the case through the eyes of a judge, she says, helps plan her cases.

Admitted: 1981, California and U.S. District Court, Southern District of California; 1982, U.S. Tax Court; 1987, U.S. Supreme Court

Law School: California Western School of Law, J.D., 1979

College: Michigan State University, B.A., cum laude, 1973

Member: San Diego County (Member: Public Information and Relations Committee, 1983-1984; Membership Committee, 1986; Chair, Public Relations Committee, 1985; Chair, Blood Bank Committee, 1985-1999, Co-Chair, 2000—; Chairperson, Family Law Committee, 1999-2001; Executive Committee, Family Law Specialists, 2000) and American Bar Associations; State Bar of California; Lawyer's Club of San Diego, Inc. (Member: Newspaper Committee, 1983-1984; Board of Directors, 1983-1987; Secretary, 1983-1985; Chairperson, Employment Committee, 1983-1985); California Trial Lawyers Association; California Women Lawyers Association; San Diego Consumer Lawyers Association; Foothills Bar Association of San Diego County.

Biography: Phi Alpha Delta. Member, Cardozo Society, 2000—. Instructor in Law, Grossmont College, 1984-1986. Adjunct Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 1989-1991. General Contractor, California, 1982. Real Estate Broker, California, 1989. Member: California State Bar Board of Governors Acknowledgement and Commendation for Voluntary Legal Services, 1984-1987; Member, 1987— and Board of Directors, 1987-1992, California Western School of Law Alumni Association; Alumni Association of Michigan State University, 1981—. Board of Directors, San Diego Jewish Academy, 1998-2000; Jewish Federation, Women's Division, 1998—. Judge Pro Tem, Acting Settlement Judge. Court Appointed Minors Counsel. (Certified Specialist, Domestic Relations - Family Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization)


Photos and videos

295963 1419281997

Practice areas


  1. Divorce: 50%
  2. Family: 20%
  3. Mediation: 20%
  4. Child Custody: 10%



Free consultation (20 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

5 total 

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  • James Nelson Dicks

    This attorney works very hard for the clients and keeps up with the law by attending legal seminars to assist them in this regard. I endorse this attorney.


    James Dicks Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Christian K. Lassen II

    Top-notch attorney. Highly respected in the legal community.


    Christian Lassen Personal injury Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Garwood Family Law and Mediation

1450 Frazee Road Suite 501
San Diego, CA, 92108


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
San Diego Top AttorneySan Diego Metro Magazine2011
Semi-Finalist Top Attorney in Family LawSan Diego Daily Transcript2011
Law Firm listed in 2011 Directory of Distinguished AttorneysMartindale-Hubbell2011
Super Lawyer San Diego Family LawSuper Lawyers Magazine2011
Super Lawyer San Diego Family LawSuper Lawyers Magazine2010
Law Firm listed in 2010 Directory of Distinguished AttorneysMartindale-Hubbell2010
Super Lawyer San Diego Family LawSuper Lawyers Magazine2009
Certificate of Appreciation for Pro Tem JudgeSuperior Court of San DiegoN/A
Association namePosition nameDuration
Executive Committee, Family Law SpecialistsMember2000 - Present
Membership CommitteeMember1986 - Present
Foothills Bar AssociationMemberN/A
San Diego Consumer AttorneysMemberN/A
California Women LawyersMemberN/A
San Diego County Bar AssociationMemberN/A
California Trial Lawyers AssociationMemberN/A
American Bar AssociationMemberN/A
State Bar of CaliforniaMemberN/A
Lawyers Club of San DiegoMemberN/A
San Diego County Bar AssociationCo-Chair Family Law Section2000 - 2001
Family Law CommitteeChairman1999 - 2001
Blood Bank CommitteeChairman1985 - 1999
Public Relations CommitteeChairman1983 - 1985
Lawyers Club of San DiegoSecretary1983 - 1985
Lawyers Club of San DiegoBoard of Directors1983 - 1987
Newspaper CommitteeMember1983 - 1984
Employment CommitteeCo-Chair1983 - 1985
Public Information and Relations CommitteeMember1983 - 1984
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
California Western School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1979
Michigan State UniversityN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1973
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
2010 Winter SeminarDrafting Enforceable Orders and Judgments2010
Fall Seminar - Disclosure and Fiduciary DutiesFiduciary Duties of Managing and Non-Managing Spouse2008
SDCBA CFLS SeminarsVarious Family Law TopicsN/A