Tagged: family law

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:

-Adoption
-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.

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How to Find a Good Family Law Lawyer

Finding a Family Lawyer

Finding a good family lawyer is a complicated task. To make it easier for you, we asked Joseph Gufford, a Florida-based family lawyer to offer guidance. With more than 20 years’ experience, Joseph Gufford has handled numerous cases involving such matters as civil litigation, personal injury, and family law.

Mr. Gufford offered the following tips:

1. Tap your network: Personal recommendations work best for locating a lawyer right for your family. Find a friend, relative, or acquaintance who knows or has dealt with a family attorney. You can also use online social networks or lawyer-rating services to find an attorney who suits your budget and criteria.

2. Family law cases are not your typical run-of-the-mill cases: Because of the sensitive nature of such cases, family lawyers need to be experienced, trustworthy, and skillful. Make sure that the recommended lawyer understands your situation thoroughly.

3. Talk to your attorney: Mr. Gufford recommends getting to know your lawyer to develop a comfortable working relationship. According to Joseph Gufford, one of the surest ways to get to know your family attorney is to conduct a preliminary interview with him or her. Explain your case and circumstances. See if the attorney asks intelligent questions and seems genuinely interested in your case. If he or she seems disinterested or evasive, then it is best not to continue with that lawyer.

4. Minmize Exposure  while your are looking for an Attorney: Avoid conflict  with the opposing party and do not let the other party know you are seeking the services of an attorney.  Many times people get into problems with  their spouse/significant other that results in domestic violence situations, criminal charges, domestic violence injunctions, the moving or hiding of assets and the moving or hiding of children. If there is a domestic violence injunction in place, whether temporary or permanent,  do not contact the other part via any means, including contact through 3rd parties. If there is a situation involving law enforcement, try not to be angry or upset. Do not use vulgar profanities or engage in name calling. Do not make unnecessary threats. Do not destroy or deface property or clothing. Do not threaten to hurt the other party’s pets.

5.  Avoid Price Shopping and Entering into Bad Deals at Mediation– Picking a lawyer to represent you is not like like buying a pair of shoes at the mall, where you look at different stores and then buy the cheapest shoes available.  Many people view the picking of a lawyer as  getting oil in their car changed., i.e. the cheapest and most convenient place available. Many inexperienced attorneys charge bargain basement  retainers in order to get your business.  Unfortunately, big mistakes are often made by inexpereienced cousel that will cost you thouands of dollars to correct.  Doing it right the first time is of utmost importance. Choosing a lawyer with good negotiation and mediation skills is very important. 70-80% of all cases are resolved at mediation, which is a good thing.  Do not take the attitude at mediation that it is  “my way or the highway”. Most cases should be resolved at mediation.  Beware of advice at mediation to sign a bad deal with the promise that “we can just fix this later through a modification action”.   Be advised that many issues cannot be fixed through a modification action, especially equitable distribution issues. In child custody, child support and alimony situations, you have to show a substantial change in circumstances  that occured since the entry of the final judgment.  Thus, you may have a spouse that has been charged with a felony crime or a long history of mental illness. If you enter into a bad deal, this history may not be admissible in a modification action because it will be deemed to be “res judicata”.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_judicata

Finding a Family Lawyer

Finding a good family lawyer is a complicated task. To make it easier for you, we asked Joseph Gufford, a Florida-based family lawyer to offer guidance. With more than 20 years’ experience, Joseph Gufford has handled numerous cases involving such matters as civil litigation, personal injury, and family law.

Mr. Gufford offered the following tips:

1. Tap your network: Personal recommendations work best for locating a lawyer right for your family. Find a friend, relative, or acquaintance who knows or has dealt with a family attorney. You can also use online social networks or lawyer-rating services to find an attorney who suits your budget and criteria.

2. Family law cases are not your typical run-of-the-mill cases: Because of the sensitive nature of such cases, family lawyers need to be experienced, trustworthy, and skillful. Make sure that the recommended lawyer understands your situation thoroughly.

3. Talk to your attorney: Mr. Gufford recommends getting to know your lawyer to develop a comfortable working relationship. According to Joseph Gufford, one of the surest ways to get to know your family attorney is to conduct a preliminary interview with him or her. Explain your case and circumstances. See if the attorney asks intelligent questions and seems genuinely interested in your case. If he or she seems disinterested or evasive, then it is best not to continue with that lawyer.

4. Minmize Exposure  while your are looking for an Attorney: Avoid conflict  with the opposing party and do not let the other party know you are seeking the services of an attorney.  Many times people get into problems with  their spouse/significant other that results in domestic violence situations, criminal charges, domestic violence injunctions, the moving or hiding of assets and the moving or hiding of children. If there is a domestic violence injunction in place, whether temporary or permanent,  do not contact the other part via any means, including contact through 3rd parties. If there is a situation involving law enforcement, try not to be angry or upset. Do not use vulgar profanities or engage in name calling. Do not make unnecessary threats. Do not destroy or deface property or clothing. Do not threaten to hurt the other party’s pets.

5.  Avoid Price Shopping and Entering into Bad Deals at Mediation– Picking a lawyer to represent you is not like like buying a pair of shoes at the mall, where you look at different stores and then buy the cheapest shoes available.  Many people view the picking of a lawyer as  getting oil in their car changed., i.e. the cheapest and most convenient place available. Many inexperienced attorneys charge bargain basement  retainers in order to get your business.  Unfortunately, big mistakes are often made by inexpereienced cousel that will cost you thouands of dollars to correct.  Doing it right the first time is of utmost importance. Choosing a lawyer with good negotiation and mediation skills is very important. 70-80% of all cases are resolved at mediation, which is a good thing.  Do not take the attitude at mediation that it is  “my way or the highway”. Most cases should be resolved at mediation.  Beware of advice at mediation to sign a bad deal with the promise that “we can just fix this later through a modification action”.   Be advised that many issues cannot be fixed through a modification action, especially equitable distribution issues. In child custody, child support and alimony situations, you have to show a substantial change in circumstances  that occured since the entry of the final judgment.  Thus, you may have a spouse that has been charged with a felony crime or a long history of mental illness. If you enter into a bad deal, this history may not be admissible in a modification action because it will be deemed to be “res judicata”.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_judicata