William Howatt

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

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Judge Pro Tem

Case Manager
Jenny Truex
T: 619-237-0805
F: 619-236-9032
401 B Street, Suite 2100, San Diego, CA 92101

William J. Howatt is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


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
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

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

Counsel Comments

    • “He is one of those rare judges who has a very human approach and also a passion for the rules of evidence and civil procedure.”
    • “…I’ve continued to take complicated cases to him because of his methodology. He brings a level of patience and gravitas that clients appreciate. When he speaks they listen. He’s very effective in bringing about settlements. He’s good at moving them to where they need to be.”



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Family Law
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
Available nationwide


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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