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Barbara Jo May

Divorce and separation Attorney at Monterey, CA

4.8   18 reviews
  • Licensed for 21 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2002
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Barbara

Learn Barbara’s areas of practice.

Barbara May has lived in the Monterey Peninsula nearly all of her life. She is a graduate of local Monterey High School and Monterey College of Law, and attended Monterey Peninsula College and Sonoma State University. Before receiving her juris doctorate and admission to the California Bar in 2002, she was a legal secretary and paralegal for over thirty years in Monterey County.

Before forming the Law Office of Barbara J. May, she was a partner in the firm of May & Garibay, LLP, and worked as an associate attorney at the Monterey firm of Bohnen, Rosenthal & Dusenbury, where she practiced civil litigation, family law, probate, conservatorship, and estate litigation.


Law Office of Barbara J. May
409 Washington St Ste 202 B
Monterey, CA, 93940-3054


4.8 / 5.0
  18 customer reviews
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Posted by Jolyn | September 13, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Five years post judgment
Barbara handled the litigation for my contested divorce that involved a lengthy, emotional custody battle. I had no understanding at the time how lucky I was to chance on her and her daughter Amy as my counsel. They even fought for my rights as a military spouse when I didn’t even know what those rights were. I can’t say enough how grateful I am for their professional and practical support. I don’t know where I’d be financially without them. And yes, we won.
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Posted by Nancy | January 24, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thank you for all you have done to help me get my life back.
Barbara I do not know how I would have gotten thru this divorce without your understanding and expertise. You were very professional at all times and had a way of dealing with his attorney respectfully, but forcefully, and presenting only the facts and standing firm. I was enraged they could throw out erroneous statements but bottom line, you took them to task and we ended up with the original agreement you and I had worked out from the beginning. I have all the respect in the world for you. Your are of very high moral and ethical standing and I would highly recommend you to anyone looking for a divorce attorney, If I had to do it again, you are the one I would be coming too. Thank you again for helping me get my life back.
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Posted by Christine | January 14, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
We won our case -- so happy to have hired Barbara May and her team
I approached Barbara May at the recommendation of another family law attorney to guide me in filing a petition for guardianship that I knew would be contested and fraught with emotion. Barbara and her staff exhibited such care and professionalism in handling our case; they calmed my nerves, met all the deadlines, and performed optimally in court. In sum, I felt I made an excellent decision in hiring Barbara and I'd recommend her firm to anyone needing legal advice for family matters.
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Posted by Daniel | November 13, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Skilled, professional and compassionate.
Let me suffice it to say, as an attorney, Barbara May is without peer. I came to her completely overwhelmed by the divorce process. As with many, I was confused, lost and emotionally distressed. Things were explained in a clear and concise manner, options outlined and questions patiently answered. I was kept well informed and all my queries were responded to in a timely fashion. She is an excellent communicator and talks to you as an equal, not a subordinate. I appreciated her compassion and utter dedication to resolving every aspect pertaining to my divorce. Her preparation and skill as a lawyer resulted in my being able to save my house by protecting the inherited funds that had been invested into it. She is also supported by an excellent team, all of whom are highly approachable and exceptional in their abilities. I give the law firm of Barbara May my highest recommendation.
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Posted by Estate of Edwin Harper | October 13, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Final Interculory judgment
Barbara, including her legal team was focused, there were timely follow-ups with deadline, the preparation and presentation during trial was excellent. Barbara was personable, easy to speak, without the legal jargon. Barbara was available via email/phone for a response. The legal staff was professional, verbally and written. I highly recommend.
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Posted by Darnell | October 13, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Not enough words!
There are not enough words to express how good and professional this Attorney is! She is not only very intelligent, she is so very kind and compassionate! I speak from experience and whoever has this Attorney on their side, can rest assured Barbara will do her absolute best for you! I have had other Attorney's and never in my experiences have I ever had such an awesome Attorney, as Barbara May! I would definitely put my life in her more than capable hands! I owe her everything and I am not exaggerating at all!
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Posted by anonymous | October 12, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Help with Adoption
Barbara May helped my husband and me with a termination of parental rights of a biological parent and a stepparent adoption. She was professional and responsive and in the end, she saw us through both the termination of parental rights and the adoption. "Legalizing" our family was very important to us and Barbara May took our intentions seriously and represented us very well. I highly recommend Barbara for family law work.
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Posted by Dawn | October 12, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Longest Divorce Ever
Barbara May has amazing patience! She is also a magician at pulling information out of me that I didn't remember was in my brain. She has been an encouragement each time we have had to appear in court. I asked Barbara to be honest with me and she has been, in the beginning she told me there are no winners in a divorce and has kept me on track with what my priorities are and what I can be flexible with. I appreciate that a lot. Divorce can become a very emotional, cloudy area. She is a trusted guide through the haze.
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Posted by R. | July 23, 2015
You are the best !
Barbara brings to the table a perfect blend of expertise and experience, professionalism and integrity, and above all a human touch that sets her part from all her peers. Her representation gives you a definitive feeling that she is doing the best for you. I had a very tough case but her dedication, hard work, and tenacity saw me through. I feel very lucky to have found her and I highly recommend her to anyone who is seeking a family law specialist. She is a fine attorney, a knowledgeable guide, and a great human being.
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Posted by M.L | February 17, 2015
Professional, straightforward, no nonsense
Barbara was recommended to me because of her superior skills as a lawyer. She was extremely professional and kept me focused on the business of the case as opposed to getting emotionally distracted. This also carried through to her excellent support staff. My case had a satisfying and fair outcome. As a bonus, I found her to be a decent, compassionate human being. It is an honor to be able to refer her to others in need of legal help.
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Posted by Steve | January 10, 2014
One of the best lawyers in Monterey
No nonsense, no drama, responsive and a total professional. I am so thankful that I found Ms. May. She carried me through the mess of my divorce and I would recommend her highly to anyone needing legal assistance. She is very personable, highly experienced in the family law field and kept me on point and budget. My divorce had some drama, parenting plan issues, prior to marriage $$ issues, and my ex tried to take me for everything. I told Barbara what I wanted when my settlement was ultimately finalized and she made it all happen for me. She also did most of the worrying for me which allowed me to keep my stress levels low. Hands down one of the best lawyers in town.
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Posted by Briana D. | October 30, 2012
Dedicated Advocate
Barbara May changed my life. As a young mother in a bitter and terrifying custody battle and victim in a domestic violence case, Ms. May guided me throughout the process; she leaves no detail behind and in my experience is always two steps ahead of other attorneys. Her knowledge of family law is extensive and her execution of it outstanding. I attribute a great amount of happiness in both mine and my daughter's life to the outstanding law practice of Barbara May. I don't know who I could trust as much as Barbara May with such delicate aspects of my life. Five years later, she is still my attorney and will remain so until I no longer need legal services.
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Posted by Christopher Stokes | October 4, 2012
Child custody lawyer
Barbara was an amazing lawyer. I came to her with a huge problem and she helped me get through it and come out on top. This was my situation my daughters mom picked up my daughter for visitation and filed custody papers and wouldn't let me pick up my daughter or see her. I felt like I was going to lose my daughter especially because I live all the way in Southern California and I didn't know how the law worked for custody in Northern California. I called Barbara and told her my situation she put together my case in two days and she did it for a great price. I ended up getting full custody of my daughter and I couldn't have been happier with Barbara's work
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Posted by Leon | October 3, 2012
Experienced, trustworthy, and knowledgeable attorney in Monterey
Barbara J. May and her associate, Amy E. Spiering are professional, knowledgeable and compassionate divorce and family law attorneys. My experience with the firm has been broad across the areas of family law and divorce/separation. During the course of my separation a restraining order based on false accusations was issued against me by my spouse. Since we have a daughter that we both love very much, I found myself facing an emergency situation and my relationship with my daughter in jeopardy. I needed help! After consulting several people I knew I needed an experienced Family Law Attorney to come to my defense. Upon meeting Ms. Spiering and Ms. May I was immediately relieved and impressed with their level of professionalism and knowledge of family law, restraining orders, divorce, and child custody issues. Barbara J. May quickly prepared and filed a legal response to the allegations, represented me in court, and successfully got the court to deny the restraining order and requests for restrictive visitation with my daughter. While everyone’s case is different, I felt that Barbara and Amy really listened to my concerns and helped me to understand my options. In court, I found Barbara to provide effective, and when appropriate, aggressive representation, while always maintaining a professional demeanor. Her knowledge of court proceedings, processes, and key personnel proved invaluable in preparing my defense and addressing my concerns. Beyond the professionalism, both Barbara and Amy have made me feel comfortable and at ease when discussing my case and requesting sound legal advice. Barbara J. May continues to represent me through my divorce and child custody process. I highly recommend them!
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Posted by Pamela | September 7, 2012
My case was a "Dependent Guardianship Case". It involved Social Services, Birth-Parents, their Attorneys and me a newly appointed Legal Guardian for a child that we really loved and wanted to Adopt. Previosuly to hiring Barbara as my Attorney, their were complication with Social Services "Terminating the Rights" of the Birth Parents - so I became the Legal Guardian, instead of Adopting this child. I didn't realize at that time, that I should of had an Attorney representing me as the foster parent - when things started to wrong with the Adoption Process. If I had Barbara representing me, I really believe that this child would of become my legal adpotive son, instead of being his Guardian. However I was naive and soon found out that the Birth Parent's Private Attorney was going to court to request all kinds of things for the birth-parent that was unsettleing and intrusive for me and my whole family. I felt that they were running over me, so I needed to get an Attorney of my own. This was difficult, because there are not very many attorneys that will take on a Dependent Case - but there was one Attornery that referred me to Barbara Jo May. This case was a little out of Barbara's scope, but she took on the case for me. She was great! She knows the law and appropriately represented me in court. She was easy to talk with and listened intently to me and all parties involved in our case - in and out of the courtroom. She used wisdom and common sense in representing me and successfully stopped the train wreck that was headed in my direction. Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I still have hope in adopting our son. When the time is right, Barbara will be the Attorney representing us and we will be successful. I trust her...
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Posted by Nkechi | August 30, 2012
An outstanding lawyer that gets the job done!
Mrs. May is great at being a lawyer. I was very apprehensive about using an attorney that I simply found on google but she immediately offered me a degree of comfort that I so desperately needed. My divorce was a nightmare that wouldn't end but she put up a great fight for me. Her knowledge of the law and her ability to compellingly convey my case to the judge produced a favorable outcome. She definitely exceeded my expectations of a great lawyer! She was truly the "wind beneath my wings".
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Posted by Alice | August 28, 2012
Amazing repesentation
Barbara has represented both my husband and myself in two separate cases for the past 4 years. She has always fought hard for us and never gave us misleading information. She is both optimistic and realistic, as to say she never gave us false hope. She cares about her clients and works hard for them.
Posted by Agnes | February 11, 2021
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
How rude and inhuman!
I called the office of Barbara May to inquire about a one time consultation. The secretary was incredibly rude. The whole conversation was infuriating. The secretary told me «  let’s see first if you can afford our fees before anything. Then she told me we don’t have time for people like you who just seek advices » I was chocked. They charge 375 dollars for the first appointement and ask for $4000 before you even meet with them. They say they don’t have time to give people consultation, you have to choose them as long term attorney or they won’t give any advices on any matter. Where is humanity and kindness in all this? I never met Barbara but I know one thing her secretary sabotaged her work by being so hostile.
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  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.3 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Law Office of Barbara J May
  • 2006 - Present
  • Partner
  • May & Garibay
  • 2004 - 2006
  • Associate
  • Bohnen, Rosenthal & Dusenbury
  • 2002 - 2004


  • Monterey College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2002

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Marriage of Myers
  • Mother allowed to move with children
  • Marriage of Simmons
  • Court ordered a change of custody to father
  • Jaramillo v. J.H. Real Estate Partners
  • Won at trial court level and decision upheld on appeal


  • State Bar of California, Family Law Section
  • Member
  • 2014 - Present
  • Monterey County Bar Association Family Law Section
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • Monterey County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present
  • Monterey County Women Lawyers Association
  • Past President
  • 2003 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 2002 - Present
  • Harmony at Home
  • Board Member
  • 2014 - 2015
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Certified Family Law Specialist
  • California State Bar
  • 2014
  • Acheivement Award
  • West Publishing
  • 2001


  • California Move Away and Relocation Cases
  • 2012

Speaking Engagements

  • Girls, Inc.
  • Career Choices
  • 2008

Attorney endorsements

Received (5)
Given (10)
Endorse Barbara
Family Attorney | Jun 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Barbara treats her clients with the respect and attention they deserve."
Family Attorney | Oct 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Oct 22
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Ms. May is an accomplished and professional attorney. I have found her to be incredibly helpful when I have sought her consultation on specific matters."
Family Attorney | Aug 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I met Barbara May in 1998 and she is an extremely competent, conscientious and hardworking lawyer who goes above and beyond for all of her clients. Anyone with family law issues would be well advised if they consulted with Barbara."
Family Attorney | Mar 09
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I've known Barbara for more than 20 years. It's no surprise to me that she's built up a successful family law practice since graduating from Monterey College of Law. Not only is she smart and hard-working, but she's truly compassionate. A good lawyer with heart! I highly recommend her services."

Avvo Contributions

This attorney hasn't created any legal answers in Q&A or legal guides recently on Avvo.

Monterey Divorce and separation Lawyer Barbara Jo May
Barbara Jo May
Divorce and separation Attorney
Monterey, CA
Licensed for 21 years