Category: child custody

The Purview of Family Law

Attorney Joseph Gufford is a partner in the Gufford and Brandt firm, which is located in Stuart, Florida, and serves the state’s Treasure Coast region. Joe Gufford specializes in the practice of family law and is the former chairman of the Martin County Bar Association’s Family Law Committee. Joe Gufford has given professional lectures in the rea of family law and frequently updates himself on the subject through continuing legal education.

Many people think of divorce when it comes to family law, but there is so much more to this law discipline. While lawyers who work in family law focus heavily on divorce and related issues such as child custody and visitation, child and spousal financial support, and the division of property, they also handle legal concerns in the following areas:

-Elder care, such as power-of-attorney for caretakers
-Alternative families, and
-Prenuptial agreements.

In order to be a good family law attorney, one must have a good knowledge of the general law in almost every other category of law becuase family law touches so many other areas. A good family law attorney must have knowledge of the law of contracts, real property, business law, bankruptcy, etc. Family law attorneys are also often experts in the areas of wills, probate, estates, and trusts. Almost all family law cases are document-intensive and require a lawyer with an eye for detail and strong negotiation skills.

Lastly, a family law atorney must also have kowledge of other disciplines outside of the practice of law including child and adult psychology, forensic accounting and business valuation.


My wife and I are parting ways and she wants to move to S.C. What does the law state when it comes to our 4 year old daughter?

Until a Court Order is entered, she can take that child anywhere she wants. That’s why it is absolutely important for you to get a case filed immediately and have her served. In St. Lucie County, once a divorce action is filed, a Standing Temporary Domestic Relations Order is entered that prevents the removal of the child from the jurisdiction. But you have to get the case filed and get her served. In any event, so long as 6 months does not pass by with her and your child in South Carolina, Florida will have jurisdiction over the child under the UCCJEA which defines the home state of the child as being the state where the child lived for the 6 months preceding the filing of any action. If you wait to file a case too long, you might be stuck litigating child custody matters in South Carolina.