Neil M. E. Forester, Esq.
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Neil M. E. Forester is Head of the Family Law Division at Goyette & Associates, Inc.  He has been recognized by the California State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Family Law Specialist – a designation highlighting Neil’s dedication to the practice of family law, and his expertise in that field.  He has nearly a decade of experience representing clients in family law matters ranging through all aspects of domestic relations cases.  Immediately after law school, he joined the Sacramento area’s largest law firm, Downey Brand LLP, as an associate attorney in the firm’s Family Law Practice Group.  He held that position for nearly 8 years before joining Goyette & Associates in 2012 to launch the Family Law Division.  Neil’s representative experience includes:

  • Marriage dissolution, legal separation, and nullity proceedings
  • Local and interstate child custody disputes
  • International child custody jurisdictional disputes under the Hague Convention
  • Establishment and modification of guideline child support and spousal support orders
  • Complex business valuation
  • Property characterization and valuation, including reimbursement issues
  • Obtaining and defending against Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Though Neil has extensive experience handling appearances before the courts of many counties in Northern California, his primary goal in virtually every case is cooperative settlement through negotiation, and avoiding the need for expensive and time consuming litigation. To that end, Neil has successfully negotiated a myriad of Marital Settlement Agreements resolving cases from the most simple and straight forward to the most complex and difficult. But when informal negotiations break down, Neil has a highly developed litigation skill set that enables him to transition from negotiator to zealous advocate seamlessly.  His representative experience includes countless appearances at law and motion hearings, “long cause” evidentiary hearings, and trials.  For a more detailed look at Neil’s background, please see below.


  • Represented two separate high profile musicians in marital dissolution cases involving multi-million dollar intellectual property rights and property division issues
  • Represented partner of Real Estate law firm in a marital dissolution case involving complex business valuation of law practice, domestic violence issues, and breach of fiduciary duty issues, resulting in highly favorable judgment after trial
  • Represented law firm partner with a tax litigation practice in marital dissolution case involving significant separate property reimbursement issues, spousal support, and allocation of separate property debt issues
  • Represented Peruvian father in child abduction matter under the Hague Convention resulting in the return of the child to the father after a single contested hearing
  • Represented former member of the armed services in marital dissolution case involving contested child custody disputes, domestic violence, and support issues, resulting in an extremely favorable judgment for the client after contested trial
  • Represented cardiologist in marital dissolution matter involving issues related to imputing income to underemployed spouse, valuation of a medical practice, and separate property reimbursement issues
  • Represented commercial real property business owner in a marital dissolution case after 30 years of marriage, with issues involving three decades of tracing commingled separate property inheritance funds and property valuation, resulting in a favorable settlement for the client
  • Represented mother of two children against Turkish father who illegally fled with the children out of the country and hid the children from her, resulting in the return of the children to her and virtual termination of father’s visitation rights
  • Pro bono representation of woman seeking domestic violence restraining order against same sex cohabitant, resulting in full settlement of case
  • Pro bono representation of abused Hmong woman seeking domestic violence restraining orders against violent husband who was seeking to have her deported, resulting in successful resolution of all issues
  • Has successfully argued cases and motions before the Superior Courts of Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, San Francisco, Marin, Tehama, Siskiyou, Yuba, and Nevada Counties.


California State University, Sacramento (1999 – 2001)

  • Bachelor of Arts, English
  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (2001 – 2004)

  • Juris Doctor (with Distinction)
  • Anthony M. Kennedy Fellow (member of the first Fellowship class, and recipient of full tuition scholarship for all three years of law school)
  • Chief Articles Editor, McGeorge Law Review (2003 – 2004)


WEAVE (2006 – Present)

  • Represented several WEAVE clients on pro bono basis in Domestic Violence Restraining Order cases
  • Served on Facilities Committee during construction of new WEAVE Safe House
  • Board Member (as of 2011), and current Board Secretary
  • Chair of Legal Committee assisting in the development of WEAVE’s legal services department

Placer County Superior Court (2012 – Present)

  • Selected by Placer County Family Law Bench to work as Attorney Mediator for self-represented litigants with support and/or financial issues on court’s “pro per” calendar

Mira Loma High School (2007 – 2011)

  • Coach of the Speech & Debate Team
  • Grew team from 20 members to over 100 in first two years of coaching
  • Qualified dozens of student team members to compete at National Forensics League National Tournament


Continuing Education of the Bar (“CEB”)

  • California Child Custody and Practice (contributing author)
  • Family Law: Financial Discovery (contributing author)
  • California Child and Spousal Support: Establishing, Modifying, and Enforcing contributing author)
  • Financial Discovery in Family Law Cases (Presenter – 2009 continuing education seminar, Sacramento Convention Center)
  • Asset Protection through Marital Agreements (Presenter – 2011 State Family Law Conference, San Francisco)

National Business Institute (“NBI”)

  • Ethical Issues for Family Law Attorneys and Property and Financial Issues in Marital Dissolutions (Presenter – Upcoming December 2012 “Family Law from A to Z,” Sacramento)

 McGeorge Law Review

  • The Elephant in the Locker Room: Does the NFL Discriminate in the Hiring of Head Coaches (34 McGeorge L. Rev. 877) (Author)


California State Bar – Family Law Section

Sacramento County Bar Association

Placer County Bar Association

American Bar Association