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
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.
Attorney Joseph Gufford has a solid reputation for pro bono work in the central south Florida area, and has earned several professional awards for his efforts. Joe Gufford now operates a multi-attorney practice in Stuart, Florida, and contributes time and energy to the Martin County Bar Association (MCBA) through his pro-bono efforts with Florida Rural Legal Services.
Florida Rural Legal Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality civil legal advice, representation and education for low income people and communities. Florida Rural Legal Services, gives attorneys the opportunity to fulfil their promise to “never reject the cause of the defenseless or oppressed or delay anyone’s cause for lucre or malice.”
Joe Gufford has made it his practice over the course of the last few years to ensure that his firm is handling at least one pro-bono case at all times. While this may not sound like a lot to the general public, many of these cases are complex and require much time and resources in order to achieve a just result. Virtually all of Joe Gufford’s formal pro-bono activities are done through Florida Rural Legal Services because of the benefits offered to Florida Rural’s Pro Bono Attorneys:
• Out-of-pocket costs are paid by FRLS.
• FRLS will cover malpractice insurance (with deductible).
• Clients are pre-screened to ensure that they are indeed indigent.
• Free CLE webinars are available for attorneys who assist FRLS with cases.
Child custody cases can be messy and difficult. At such moments, taking care of trivial and routine tasks can be overwhelming. We asked Joseph Gufford, a lawyer experienced in such cases, to provide us with helpful tips regarding custody cases. Joseph Gufford III, based in Florida, came up with the following two critical pieces of information that can help make things easier for you and your attorney.
1. Know the types of custody: Broadly speaking, there are two types of custody in Florida. “Sole Parental Responsibility” places a single parent in charge of important decisions in a child’s life. On the other hand, “Shared Parental Responsibility” means that both parents are equally accountable for the child’s welfare and must confer on all major decisions. In Florida, most people have shared parental responsibility. This is somewhat akin to what other states refer to as “Joint Custody”. However, regardless of which type of custody the court orders, there will also be a Parenting Plan that will determine the timing of “timehsharing”, i.e “visitation” with the child.
In order to get sole parental responsibility, you must meet the heavy burden of showing that “shared parental responsibility” would be detrimental to the best interests of the child.
2. Know the information required: It is important to disclose all aspects of the case to your lawyer to avoid unpleasant surprises during the trial. In addition to the child’s details, it is important to provide your lawyer with other, important information such as your partner’s details and additional cases involving the child.