A California lawyer for more than 35 years, Joseph Bell’s primary area of practice is family and juvenile dependency law. He also handles general civil disputes and environmental land use problems. His practice is limited to the Sierra Foothills, primarily Nevada and Placer Counties. Mr. Bell has been certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar of California, since March 18, 1995, more than 21 years ago. He has handled hundreds of dissolution of marriage, dissolution of domestic partnership, custody, visitation and support matters, as well as juvenile dependency, guardianship and adoption matters. Though he is an experienced litigator, he emphasizes proactive family law dispute resolution services including:
- living together, same sex marriage, domestic partnership and pre-marital agreements;
- counseling and coaching to effect reconciliation or dispute resolution;
- alternate dispute resolution, including mediation, private judging and arbitration of personal disputes;
- collaborative negotiation with other professionals to expedite settlements.
He is trained to serve as mediator, arbitrator and pro tem judge in family law and civil matters. He has prior experience in personal injury/tort actions arising out of personal relations. He has also litigated employment disputes including wrongful termination and harassment claims, as well as land use/environmental law issues.
As a former member of the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California, and as a Board member and Past President of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) Mr. Bell has written articles on legal issues for the California Bar Journal and other digital and legal media. He frequently speaks on legal topics to community and bar groups. Early in his Nevada County career he was a founder of several non-profit organizations including NCLA, Inc. [aka Northern California Legal Access] the South Yuba River Citizens League and the Sierra Nevada Group, Sierra Club. He also held every office in the Nevada County Bar Association and presently serves as a Member at Large of its Executive Committee. He has regularly been a presenter at the annual Nevada County Superior Court Family Law Update, since 2004.
Mr. Bell was a former State Bar (Trustees) Vice-President and Chair of the Board Committee on Courts and Legislation as well as liaison to the California Judges Association Family Law Committee and the State Bar Family Law Section, Executive Committee. He is an active member of the national Association of Family and Conciliation Courts as well as the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association. He received the ACFLS Sterling Award in 2014. In 2015, helped found the ACFLS Charitable Foundation, Inc., which seeks to support services for family law litigants. He currently serves as President of the Foundation.
Mr. Bell was a member of the Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee for the Judicial Council of California, a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children and he is an active volunteer member of Gold Country Kiwanis International service club. He regularly provides pro bono advice, information and representation to litigants without resources and community non-profit organizations. He currently serves as President of the South Yuba River Citizens League [SYRCL]. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Bell was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia and he continues to be an active member of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Associations. For more information, see his resume or visit www.bellslaw.com