Mediation Services

Trusted for over 30 years

WautersMediation - Stephanie M Wauters2.jpg

Judge Stephanie M. Wauters (Retired)

30 years legal career
Over 11 years as a judge
High percentage of case settlements
Complex cases
Diverse experience

Mediation Services Offered

Civil Law Mediation Services

Civil Law

Commercial, Municipal and Residential/Individual litigation and transactions including Environmental Law and toxic tort cases

Probate and Estate Mediation Services

Probate law

Disputes involving estates, wills and Inheritance

Family Law Mediation Services

Family Law

Legal issues regarding parents and children – married or unmarried, opposite or same sex, LGBTQ parties

Education Law Mediation Services

Education law

Special Education and general education including student discipline, residency, educators' issues and non-tenured employee issues

Do you want to avoid the following issues?

1.     Stressful adversarial court litigation

2.     Lengthy court procedure – Months to begin, years to end – From the complaint to trial and to possible appeal

3.     Court process is most often more costly

4.     Court docket may have multiple cases scheduled same day as your case


6.     Lost work time

7.     Irreparable damage to the relationship of the parties(and/or children in family cases)

8.     Living with anxiety during lengthy litigation


  • In mediation, you decide
  • In arbitration, your chosen arbitrator decides in an informal private hearing

REMEMBER - In court, your legal issues are decided by an assigned court judge or if a civil trial, probably by a jury – not you!  



(732) 798 9500


19 Main Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
(by the corner of Water Street)


Mon-Fri 9am–6pm

The difference between Mediation and Arbitration


A neutral mediator, here a retired judge, facilitates settlement negotiations between the parties with their attorneys or parties alone if unrepresented.  Instead of filing a lawsuit, the parties may mediate their dispute.  After filing a lawsuit, the parties may still mediate their dispute with a chosen mediator. The parties will raise the legal issues and the mediator may discuss the issues with all parties together and with the parties individually.  The parties decide the terms of their settlement of their disputes in private, confidential sessions with the mediator. The settlement is a signed contract between the parties. Mediation reduces the chances of a costly, lengthy, stressful, adversarial court process.  There also is less of a chance of lasting damage to personal or business relationships and the interests of the parties’ children. Since the parties control the settlement, there is a higher degree of a successful lasting dispute resolution.


The purpose of arbitration is to provide an informal, dignified process for resolving cases in an economic, expeditious and confidential manner.  The arbitrator, here an experienced trial judge, will conduct an informal hearing and make a just determination on the issues, based on the facts and law presented by the attorneys.  Legal memorandum of facts and laws, testimony, documentary evidence, expert reports, opening and closing arguments may all be provided and considered by the arbitrator. Evidence rules do not apply to arbitrations.  After the hearing, the arbitrator renders a final decision.  In civil cases a contract may have required or the parties may have agreed to a binding decision.  In family divorce cases, the arbitrator’s decision will be presented to the Family Court Judge for acceptance in granting the divorce.

WautersMediation - About Stephanie M Wauters

About Judge Wauters

Stephanie Wauters can help you solve your ligation issues quickly, fairly and with respect.  Now serving Ocean County, Monmouth County and other NJ counties.

Professional Skills

Experienced Superior Court Judge in the Law Division and the Chancery Division

Settlements, Motions, Hearings and Trials

Experienced Administrative Law Judge

Settlements, Motions, Hearings and Decision Writing

Mediation Training, National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada

My Goals for the Mediation Process

To serve the Bench, Bar, and public with a fair, reasonable, timely and cost-effective dispute resolution

To provide a private, individualized proceeding to accommodate the parties’ needs and situations

To assure a confidential and privileged process

To utilize a comfortable, conveniently located office with a conference room and areas for private attorney and client discussions

To travel to an attorney’s location if requested or necessary

To assure equal attention and service to all – Court referrals, private attorneys and clients, or unrepresented parties

Over 30 years of legal experience

New Jersey Superior Court Judge in Ocean County

Chancery Division-Family Part; Law Division-Criminal Part


Family Court:  Judge Wauters held a novel case hearing of a “tri-parenting” arrangement of two same-sex spouses, the biological and the psychological fathers, and the biological mother. Judge awarded equal legal custody of the child to the three parents and equal residential custody to the men together and to the mother. This is a published decision.

Criminal Court:  Judge Wauters issued a Suppression Motion decision which was the catalyst in a modification of a major evidence rule – the Marital Privilege. Judge denied the suppression of communications evidence between the spouses while they engaged in illegal drug activity. The decision was partly based on the reasoning that such communication in furtherance of drug activity is not worthy of protection by the marital privilege. She discussed the crime-fraud exception to the marital communications privilege which the federal and many state courts have adopted. The Appellate Court reversed based on the violation of the Wiretap Act, but favored the reasoning regarding a crime-fraud exception to this marital privilege N.J.R.E. 509.  However, pursuant to The Evidence Act of 1960, a procedure involving the three branches of government had to be followed to change a major evidence rule privilege.   Upon appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court in a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner held the crime-fraud exception should apply to the marital communications privilege and sent a draft of the modification to the Senate and Assembly who jointly passed the modification and the Governor signed it.  State v. Yolanda Terry and Teron Savoy, 218 N.J. 224 (2014); State v. Terry, 430 N.J. Super. 587 (App. Div. 2013)

New Jersey Administrative Law Judge, Trenton, New Jersey

Appeal cases of 38 State Agencies including:
N.J. Department of Environmental Protection
N.J. Department of Education

Attorney-at-Law, Civil Law Private Practice

Toms River, New Jersey
Concentrations:  Environmental, Business, Probate Law
Including 9/11 World Trade Center Victim Fund cases with multi-million dollar awards to widows with children

Plus, previous positions held

Senior Assistant Prosecutor – Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
Law Clerk of Ocean County Civil, Family and Criminal Judges
Legal Intern, Environmental Protection Agency
Toms River High School South Biology Teacher


Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, NJ J.D.
College of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ  B.A. Biology

Legal Activities

2016 Annual NJ State Bar Convention, LGBTQ Section Panelist, "DIY Parentage"
NJ Supreme Court Committee, "Women in the Courts"
NJ State Supreme Court Chairperson Panel A, District III Ocean County Fee Arbitration
Ocean County Bar Association: Women's Committee Panel Presentations & Administrative Law Court Panel Presentation

Special Honors

New Jersey Association of Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) as President of Ocean County Citizens for Clean Water
“GAEA Award” by Ocean County Women’s History Month for environmental achievements
“Women of Distinction Award” by Ocean County Soroptomists for legal and community achievements
“Sister Miriam Theresa Award” by Women’s Auxiliary of New Jersey Catholic War Veterans for service to society
Recognition for Achievements in Law Enforcement by New Jersey Jewish War Veterans Monmouth-Ocean Counties
“Woman of Influence Award” by Ocean County Providence House for outstanding service to victims of violence
Zonta International Profession and Business Women’s Award.  December 2011,
“The Mother Xavier Award” by The College of St. Elizabeth for “courageous leadership in justice and environmental sustainability.”

Contact Us

Please call us to schedule an appointment. Or, you can fill out the below contact form:

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Our Office

Wauters Mediation, LLC
19 Main Street
Toms River, NJ, 08753
United States
(732) 798 9500