A Sensitive Child Custody Lawyer

Working with Your Family to Develop a Meaningful Child Custody Agreement

The end of a marriage is stressful for everyone, including children in the family. A clear and fair child custody arrangement can make it easier for everyone to move forward. As a child custody attorney, Paula Goforth has helped many couples work their way through this difficult process.

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Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests In Custody Proceedings

As a parent, your biggest concern in any family law matter is how it will affect your children. You want to protect them, but you also want to protect your relationship with them. You will be happy to know that in many cases, parents are able to do both. With a little work and some help from a knowledgeable child custody attorney, both parents can often find common ground, as long as they are willing to work together and keep their child’s best interest at the center of the discussion.

At Goforth Family Law & Mediation, I believe that the best custody order is the one that loving parents create themselves. I am attorney Paula J. Goforth. I am certified by the California State Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in the area of family law and have over 20 years of experience helping parents through divorce and paternity actions. From my office in Carlsbad, I assist parents throughout the San Diego area in creating custody agreements that put their children first.

Custody Cases In San Diego Superior Court

San Diego Superior Court has a mandatory mediation process that precedes a child custody hearing before a judge. In some courts, this is known as custody-recommending counseling. I will be there to help you prepare for this mediation.

Rather than viewing this as a hurdle to overcome, I suggest viewing it as an opportunity to resolve your custody issues. Custody cases often settle after mediation, which means less overall conflict in your divorce or paternity action.

When you go before a judge with an agreement in hand, they will likely accept it, so long as it complies with California law. For example, you may need to account for child support payments before a judge can approve the agreement.

If a couple cannot come to an agreement, the judge may order a custody evaluation before deciding a contested case. The court will have continuing jurisdiction over your custody and support case even after you receive your child custody and support orders. This practice provides legal oversight in case your circumstances change and you must modify your order.

Protecting Parent-Child Relationships

My experience as a child custody lawyer how shown me the benefits of negotiating your own custody and parenting time agreement, and I will help you get there. When you and your co-parent work together to find a custody solution, you reduce the amount of conflict in your family law issue. Conflict in divorce can have a negative effect on children that lasts even after they are adults,  affecting their ability to form lasting relationships. For this reason, it’s important to keep conflict to a minimum.

In addition, studies show that when parents create their own custody agreement, they are more likely to stick to it over the long run. You know your family best, so you know what will or will not work for all of you. Children thrive when they have a strong relationship with both parents. This is most likely to happen when both parents are involved in the child custody process.

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Specializing in Out-of-Court Child Custody Agreements

Coming to an agreement outside of the courtroom improves your ability to make a custody arrangement that benefits everyone involved. To learn more about how my skills and experience can help, feel free to call my office or reach out online.

Do You Have Questions About Child Custody Agreements?

Below Are Some Common Questions about Child Custody in Divorce

Physical custody has to do with where children spend their time. Legal custody is about who makes decisions about the well-being of children. In some cases, one parent might have physical custody while both parents have legal custody.

Sole custody means that one parent has physical or legal custody. Joint custody means that both parents are involved. Joint physical custody typically means that children will split their time between parent households.

Changes in your life may involve a post-judgment modification of your child custody agreement. Mediation sessions can help you and your co-parent through this decision.

Working with an experienced mediator removes some of the stress from the child custody proceedings. Coming to a satisfactory arrangement outside the court will minimize the amount of time you spend in the court.

The length of time it takes to come to an agreement depends on circumstances such as the age of your children, where you live, and your ability to provide support. You will have a better sense of the time commitment after an introductory consultation.

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Additional Family Law Practice Areas

The family services offered by Goforth Family Law & Mediation have helped many couples and families in the San Diego area navigate sensitive legal issues with minimal stress.


Divorce is a significant event that requires careful preparation. The decisions you make have long-lasting consequences. Working with an experienced divorce attorney will ease the process.

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Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A well-drafted legal document provides clarity. Depending on your circumstances, a pre or postnuptial agreement may be a wise choice for protecting your assets in the future.


Marital Property Division

Navigating the division of complex assets in a divorce takes expertise. Attorney Paula Goforth will guide you through each step to prevent unintentional penalties.

Post-Judgment Modifications

Changes in the lives of you or your ex-spouse may require modification to your initial agreement. Goforth Family Law & Mediation provides a process for a positive outcome.



Talking through your differences with the help of a third party can result in solutions that make sense for your family. As a specialist in mediation, Attorney Paula Goforth can help you negotiate and reach a settlement that will save you time and legal fees.