California Arbitration Associates Stress Tip #4: Get Busy!

At California Arbitration Associates, we hope you have enjoyed our tips on beating anxiety. Implementing just one or two can make a difference when you are dealing with a contentious situation like divorce or another type of conflict such as harassment at work. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you strategies that can help you get through it!

California Arbitration Associates Stress Tip #4:
Get Busy!

Nothing can make the wheels of anxiety spin more than idleness. Procrastination is not your friend. Not only are you feeling more anxious because you aren’t getting anything done, but all that nervous energy has nowhere to go. The key is to not overwhelm yourself with tasks. Remember, ONE THING AT A TIME. Make a list of things that you want to accomplish. Start with one thing and follow it through to completion before starting anything else. Even if you get only one thing done, consider it a victory!

California Arbitration Associates-Experienced mediators and knowledgeable arbitrators for personalized conflict resolution that fits your needs.

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Stress Reducing Tip #3: Fuel Your Body.

Settling a divorce or conflict is trying for anyone. Mediators and arbitrators are fantastic options that can help ease the financial burden that you might encounter by using an attorney. At California Arbitration Associates however, we know that this might not be enough. Follow our anxiety reducing tips and let us help you through it!

Anxiety Reducing Tip #3
Fuel Your Body!

Life can get very hectic very quickly when we have a matter of conflict to resolve. Appointments with lawyers, mediators and arbitrators can take up a lot of time, leaving us with less time for ourselves. It is far easier to grab that bag of chips as we are running from one thing to then next than it is to fix ourselves a proper meal. Fueling up with processed foods raises our blood sugar very rapidly leading to a crash. The result is a feeling of sluggishness, irritability, hunger and an impaired ability to focus. If you don’t have time for a meal, try some healthy on-the-go snacks. Try to make sure that your on the go snacks have protein and fiber. Foods containing protein and fiber help to keep your blood sugar level, warding off hunger, sustaining your energy and keeping your mind sharp. String cheese, nuts (a handful will do), and nut butters, each paired with a piece of fruit, are excellent options. Planning your body fuel ahead of time will not only help your body, it will help your pocket book as well!

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California Arbitration Associates Stress Tip #2: Exercise!

Settling a divorce or conflict is trying for anyone. Mediators and arbitrators are fantastic options that can help ease the financial burden that you might encounter by using an attorney. At California Arbitration Associates however, we know that this might not be enough. Follow our anxiety reducing tips and let us help you through it!

Anxiety Reducing Technique #2

Not only does exercise require us to breathe deeply (anti-anxiety tip #1), it helps us to work off negative energy and releases endorphins in our brain that make us feel good. Exercise is proven to help us sleep better, think better, increase our energy, and boost our immune systems. And let’s face it, the side effect of looking better doesn’t hurt either! Begin with 30 minutes 3-4 times a week and tailor the intensity to your level of fitness. Exercise the evening before your mediation can help release any pent up anxiety before your meeting.

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Managing Stress: Breathe….

Disputes of any kind can make us nervous wrecks. Whether they are predicated by divorce, conflicts at work, harassment, or personality disputes, even the calmest of us can experience unwanted physical symptoms due to the emotional stress. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives the racing pulse, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, the sleepless nights and overall feeling of dread makes it difficult to get through the day, much less make important, rational decisions, and can have harmful effects on your health.

At California Arbitration Associates, we not only care about helping you resolve your conflict, we also care about your well being in the process! Paying attention to your body and recognizing anxiety symptoms is the first step in managing them. There are many tried and true ways to bring yourself to a calmer state. They are practiced skills and require a conscious effort every day, but can help you manage your stress levels when dealing with divorce or conflict in any aspect of life. Every couple days we will be posting an anxiety reducing technique for you to try. We sincerely hope they help you on your way to conflict resolution!

Anxiety Reducing Technique #1


One of the simplest ways we can ward off anxiety is to remember to breathe! When we are feeling anxious, our core muscles tighten and we take quick, shallow breaths. Breathing exercises can influence our core muscles to relax and often the rest of the body will follow. These exercises can be done at any time, anywhere. Start by breathing in through your nose for four counts. Imagine taking this breath all the way in to your belly. Hold for four counts, then exhale slowly for four counts. Start with a goal of 3 minutes. You will likely have to refocus back to your breathing several times, but it will get easier with practice!

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What Can California Arbitration Associates Do For You?

It seems like the primary question we are constantly being asked is
“What kind of issues does California Arbitration Associates mediate?”

Honestly, the answer to that question is anything and everything where there is a dispute or conflict among two or more parties. With that said, there are some issues that we handle more often. These include but not necessarily in any given order:
-> Divorce
-> Child or Pet Custody
-> Alimony or Spousal Support
-> Internal Family Issues
-> Elder Care Decisions
-> Business Partners Conflicts
-> Consumer to Business Problems
-> Employment or Peer Issues

When in doubt, give us a call. The initial consultation is at no charge. If we can’t help you, we will be the first to tell you. However, my guess is that regardless of your circumstance, we will be able to help all parties come to a mutually agreed upon resolution that will allow everyone to move forward.

708 East Grand Ave. Suite B,
Arroyo Grande Ca. 93420

Even though we are located in the Five Cities area of San Luis Obispo County, some issues can be resolved quickly via phone. Give us a call and let’s chat!

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What’s Fair about Divorce?

One of the biggest, if not THE biggest, complaint we hear from divorced people who have divorced through the court system is “It’s just not fair!”. The funny thing is, we hear it from both sides. You would think that if one person felt the property division was unfair, the other side would think they got a great deal. Unfortunately, it never seems to work out that way. Which is exactly why we believe so highly in divorce mediation.

In any divorce property division, there is always some give and take. When it’s handled in the court system, you have little say over how the property is divided. Some judge and a couple of lawyers hash it out and then the gavel sounds and you get what you get.

In divorce mediation, both sides get to work together to come up with a more favorable, equitable division of property. Even though you may not get exactly what you want or think you deserve, you will have a bigger say in what you get than if you take it to court. A good mediator will steer the conversation and division of property to the best acceptable agreement possible. You will walk away feeling better, like you were heard, and that you got a more fair property division.<

California Arbitration in the Five Cities area, specializes in assisting divorcing couples reach mutually agreeable divorce settlements. We pride ourselves on making divorce as easy as possible and helping people draft favorable property divisions. It's as easy as giving us a call.

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Great Contractor, Poor Communicator

How many times have we come across the situation where your customer asks for additional work and you are happy and willing to provide it? Customer is thinking “He is going to do that for me for free” and you are thinking “Great! Additional income”. Nobody says anything else until the work is done. When you go to collect your rightfully earned money the customer balks. What was a great relationship is now in jeopardy. Suddenly they are finding fault with other aspects of your work in an effort to bolster their cause. It spirals down from there ending up in small claims court or the Contractor’s State Licensing Board. Maybe you just cave in and don’t get your earnings.

Sound familiar? At the least you are going to come out of there with a customer giving you a bad underserved reputation. Any town IS a small town!

What could you have done better?

Try this on for size:

Sally Customer: “Hey Joe, I was thinking of having you enlarge this room for me in addition to the rest of the work you are doing.”
Joe Contractor: “Sure Sally I would be happy to do that for you! Since it is additional work I would have to charge you a bit more.”
Sally: “Oh? How much more?”
Joe: “Well I am not sure Sally. Since I am already here I will give you a good price. Let me figure up something fair and I will write up a work change authorization. If you like it we can sign it and I will start on the changes right away.”

Ok, I know it sounds kind of cheesy and I know you are not stupid. But, for some reason I hear this kind of thing over and over again when it comes to Contractor/Customer arbitration. You have to admit that there is a trend in this industry that shows you may be the BEST contractor but not the best communicator.

Everybody thinks that the other party is thinking the same thing they are. Well they are NOT! Simple things that make a difference are a necessity. ANY changes should be put in writing that protects both you and the customer. Have the forms (available from in your truck, ready to go and fill them out immediately while the customer is hot on the thought of more work. Both parties need to know what to expect from the other. Both of you will be more secure. Both of you will be happy at the end of the job. That translates to referrals………..good ones, that is.

Bottom line…..GET IT IN WRITING!

For those business situations that are already spiraling out of control, San Luis Obispo County Builders Exchange has arranged with California Arbitration Associates in Arroyo Grande for one hour of free arbitration or mediation for its members. Jim Johandes can be contacted personally at 710-3617.

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Happy Independence Day America!!!

According to Wikipedia, Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. That same definition can be applied to personal situations – Independence is when you exercise self-government or control over yourself and your possessions. Sometimes, just like our country, we have disagreements or differences with others who may be trying to hinder our ability to self-govern. That’s when wars break out and we fight for what we believe in.

That’s also where San Luis Obispo California Arbitration Associates mediation and arbitration strategies come into play in avoiding full-fledged ‘wars’. Wouldn’t you rather resolve your differences than fight them out in court or in public? Wouldn’t it be much less stressful if you took your ‘independence’ issues to a neutral third-party for resolution assistance? Don’t you think you would save a ton of time, energy and effort, if you could have a reasonable mediated conversation with the other party? Isn’t there enough fighting in the world without bringing it into your home? Keep the fireworks where they belong by using mediation and/or arbitration!

This 4th of July, lets resolve to mediate our ‘independence’ conflicts peacefully rather than go to war. Contact us today to schedule an initial interview to discuss. Then go enjoy a happy, safe, fun 4th of July!

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Privacy in Divorce?

Divorce is not only a very painful situation but it is also a very open situation when you are dealing with it in the court systems with lawyers. In San Luis Obispo County, when you finally get a court date established, you walk into the court room and sit with 20 or 30 other divorcing people, waiting for the judge to call your name. When called, you sit in front of the judge and air your laundry (dirty or not) in front of the judge and everyone else sitting in the courtroom. Nothing is private – it’s all out there for anyone and everyone to see and hear.

The beauty of using mediation is that it is confidential from the Court process. All your ‘laundry’ is aired in front of the mediator only. Both sides have an opportunity to share their wants/needs/desires and work toward a mutually satisfactory solution. When a solution is agreed upon, a stipulation or agreement is taken to the judge and he typically asks a few questions to make sure you are in agreement and signs the required paperwork. You are done and out of there! Mediation is often the fastest, most cost-effective way to dissolve a marriage in Five Cities area of SLO County.

In San Luis Obispo County, a typical divorce attorney hourly fees typically range from $200 – $400 per hour. If both parties retain a lawyer, they could be paying an average of $600 per hour resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in expenses. A friend of mine paid over $90,000 to his lawyer over the course of a three year divorce battle. The only person that won in that situation was the lawyer.

Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to try California Arbitration Associates in Arroyo Grande first? We guarantee that you will save money over traditional litigation even if we can only partially resolve some of the issues.

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Divorce Better! Use Mediation!!

Let’s face it – even the best, most amicable divorces are difficult. Everything has to be divided – houses, cars, furniture, children, retirement accounts, investments, sometimes even pets – anything and everything you have accumulated while together. Traditional divorce litigation can be extremely time consuming, expensive and gut wrenching! We’ve all heard or experienced the horror stories of divorces that have taken years and years to finally settle and in the end – everyone loses (except the lawyers).

Divorce mediation provides people with the opportunity to have their voices heard. It often sets the stage for a more positive relationship after divorce. Attorney Michele McInaney wrote a great article back in 2010 that is still relevent today “Divorce Does Not Have To Be an Adversarial Battle”. You can read the complete article at:

Once you are finished reading it and have made the decision that divorce mediation is the way to go, call California Arbitration Associates to set up an initial meeting. Believe me, you and your family will be glad you did!!!

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