Hon. William J. Howatt, Jr. (Ret.)

T: 619-236-1848
F: 619-236-9032
Available nationwide
Family Law

Judge Howatt is highly regarded for his conflict resolution skills in all aspects of family law matters. During his time on the bench, he handled hundreds of Order to Show Cause matters, including domestic partnerships, child custody, same-sex partnership dissolutions, move-aways and child and spousal support. He still dedicates much of his free time keeping himself updated on the rapidly evolving law and developments within family law.

Judge Howatt is extremely sensitive to the emotional issues that arise in family law disputes, including move-away requests and domestic abuse—both verbal and physical. His patience and understanding grant him an incomparable ability to maintain a calm, productive environment, which is invaluable when dealing with dominant personalities, competing expert witness testimonies, and highly complex financial matters combined with deeply-rooted emotions. His kind, fair and deliberate manner—coupled with his peacemaking abilities—make him popular with both counsel and parties.

Representative Matters

  • Matter involving motion to set aside marital settlement agreement and judgment negotiated in previous hearing 
  • High-net-worth dispute involving move-away request requiring psychological evaluation 
  • Matter involving nullification of premarital agreement reached in different state with question of which state law should be applied in making and enforcing of agreement 
  • Numerous cases involving property division, spousal support and custody issues 
  • Custody and visitation matters determining whether one party exceeded rights in corporal punishment of child 
  • Same-sex domestic partnership dissolutions involving custody and visitation issues 
  • Marriage dissolution matter involving couple-owned business where each was skimming funds without the other’s knowledge, with concurrent bankruptcy and criminal proceedings

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Member, City of San Diego Ethics Commission, 2010-2013
    • Chairman, 2013

Background and Education

  • San Diego County Superior Court
    • Supervising Judge of Family Law, 2003-2006
    • Temporary Assignment, Court of Appeal, Division One, Fourth District, 1998
    • Independent Civil Calendar Court, 1997-2006
    • Presiding Judge, 1996-1997
    • Family Law Department Assignment, 1987-1990
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 1994-1995
    • Civil Department, Vista, 1991-1992
    • Presiding Judge, Appellate Division, 1992
    • Appellate Division, 1991-1992

Disclaimer

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