Hon. Harry L. Powazek (Ret.)


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"As I bid farewell to the bench, I express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of serving justice. The years spent in the pursuit of fairness have been truly rewarding. Joining Signature Resolution marks a new chapter, and I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to bring my experience, integrity, and impartiality to the mediation table. While the bench holds a special place in my heart, I am excited to contribute to conflict resolution in this new capacity. Here's to the journey ahead, where I hope to continue fostering fairness and harmony in every deliberation."

Case Administrator

Practice Areas

  • Family Law
  • Probate, Trust & Estates


  • J.D.,Western State University College of Law ​
  • B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo ​
  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution


With a distinguished career spanning nearly three decades on the San Diego Superior Court bench, Hon. Harry L. Powazek (Ret.) brings extensive experience in the field of family law to Signature Resolution’s panel of neutrals. ​​

Judge Powazek’s measure of success is best reflected in his approach to cases, where he handled multiple hearings/trials per day with a relentless commitment to providing finality for each case and the families involved. He prides himself on spending considerable time on each case, diligently pre-reading all materials and thoroughly understanding the nuances, including the expertise of all involved experts. By conveying his mastery of the subject matter and the parties’ unique circumstances, Judge Powazek establishes his credibility for the orders he makes, ensuring that justice is served in each case.  

After graduating from Western State University College of Law in 1980, Judge Powazek began his legal career as appointed counsel for indigent criminal defendants with Haug, Werth & Nolan and then as a sole practitioner and Certified Family Law Specialist, demonstrating his early commitment to ensuring equal access to justice. Before taking the bench, he managed his own private family law practice for 13 years, honing his expertise on the subject matter and often handling mediation cases, where he learned the importance of patience and acknowledging the emotions of those involved to find successful resolutions. In 1995, Judge Powazek was appointed as a San Diego Superior Court commissioner in Family Court. This role allowed him to directly impact the lives of families and individuals seeking resolution to complex legal issues. ​​

Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007, Judge Powazek presided over countless cases involving probate, divorce, child custody, property division, surrogacy issues and other family-related legal matters. His meticulous and empathetic approach to resolving these sensitive issues made him a beloved figure within the San Diego Superior Court. ​​

Throughout his career, Judge Powazek dedicated himself to improving the legal system through involvement in various court committees, including the San Diego Superior Court Domestic Violence Committee and the Family Court Policy Committee. He was a proud member of the California Judges’ Association, a former board member of the San Diego County Judges’ Association, and a past master of the American Inns of Court, Fiorenzo V. Lopardo Chapter. 

Judge Powazek has received and presented the Norbert Ehrenfreund Award from the San Diego County Certified Family Law Specialists for his outstanding and unselfish service to the Family Law Bar and Bench, and the Distinguished Family Law Jurist Award from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, recognizing his contributions to the field. He was also honored as Judicial Officer of the Year by the Certified Family Law Specialists of the San Diego County Bar Association.  

With his wealth of experience, Judge Powazek is an ideal addition to Signature Resolution’s panel of neutrals. His deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of family law matters positions him to navigate the most challenging cases with grace and fairness, continuing to balance excellence with compassion in the legal field and at Signature Resolution. 


  • Judge, Superior Court of San Diego (2007-2024)   ​
  • Family Law and Probate ​
  • Limited Jurisdiction Civil Settlement ​
  • Criminal Court Trials, Arraignment/Disposition, Calendars/Adult Drug Court ​
  • Family Law Commissioner, Superior Court of San Diego (1995-2007)  ​
  • Judge, Pro Tempore, Municipal and Superior Courts (1990-1995)
  • Certified Family Law Specialist, Private Family Law Practice (1982-1995) ​
  • Indigent Criminal Defense, Misdemeanor Defense Group (Level 4) (1982-1984) ​
  • Indigent Criminal Defense, Haug, Werth & Nolan (1981-1982)

Professional Achievements and Memberships

  • Recipient, Judge David B. Moon Award, Northern San Diego County Bar Association (2024)
  • Recipient, Crystal Gavel Award, San Diego Family Law Bar Association (2023) ​
  • Judicial Officer of the Year, Certified Family Law Specialists (CFLS) of the San Diego County Bar Association (2007) ​
  • Recipient, Distinguished Family Law Jurist, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (2005)   ​
  • Recipient, Norbert Ehrenfreund Award, San Diego County Certified Family Law Specialists (1994)