Joan A. Watters, Esq. 
                                                                                                                                                             California Attorney
Divorce/Family Law

Divorce proceedings are no picnic, no doubt about it.  But if my time in Family Law has taught me what best to advise, it is this: think. Think about the trouble of bad blood. Think about the difficulty of court battles. The Costs. And most of all, think about everyone who is affected by this change.  


Although I have years of experience in the field of divorce law, I no longer provide litigation services. This is because I am convinced that family court is no place for family disputes, as -with a little thought and discipline- most all divorce issues can be resolved by alternative methods of resolution. Through negotiation, private mediation or collaborative practice, or if needed, a private arbitrator who can be hired as your personal judge; you can choose to keep your personal disputes private and out of the court. Of course, if you choose to have an attorney help you, you will need to have a like-minded attorney at your side.  


The materials on this page are designed to give you a little guidance in these difficult matters, and to help you think about just which conflict resolution strategy is right for you, your loved ones, and your future.  OUR CASES   TESTIMONIALS



NOTE: PRIVATE MEDIATION: You are not required to divide your property equally, or set child support by strict guideline calculation; you have a choice, a superior court judge, generally, does not.  You can choose to keep it private, resolve it professionally, reach your own agreement, remain in control and stay out of court.  Joan A. Watters, Esq. is often recommended by peers and professionals for settling cases and staying out of court and will provide consultation on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

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Consider the following methods available to you and your spouse to resolve all of your family law issues, and then contact Joan for an informational consultation.



Mediation is a non-judicial conflict resolution process involving a mediator of your choice. You can each have an attorney at your side, or you can choose to work directly with the mediator. The setting is informal, meaning that it could occur in an office, or a conference room. The mediator's job is to assist you in reaching agreement on those issues causing you difficulty. 

Your entire divorce can be resolved with the assistance of a trained mediator. You reach an agreement that you both create. Because it is your agreement, you avoid future court proceedings where one party tries to undo what a court judge has decided for you. 





Arbitration is a process whereby you select the trained professional who will be the judge of your dispute. Arbitration is usually much more informal and certainly more relaxed than a courtroom proceeding where armed bailiffs and the curious are in attendance. 

The arbitrator of your choice is under contract and subject to the rules of your choice. You have much more control over the proceedings, and it is private. Only you, your spouse, your attorneys (if you are represented), and witnesses, (if any) are allowed. Arbitration is held in an office or conference room, providing comfort in an environment that you select.





Collaborative law is unique. You and your attorney work together with your spouse and attorney to resolve all of your issues. You both agree not to litigate! The collaboratively-trained attorneys agree they will bow out if the matter proceeds to a trial. This simple agreement removes the harsh, adversarial nature of the lawsuit, and opens up the process to allow for transparency, equity and peace of mind.

Within the collaborative process, you have access to professionals who can assist you in valuing assets, in counseling children through the trauma of divorce, and in helping you cope.