My spouse and I are entering a phase where we realize we may have to split up. It would be an amicable split though very, very sad. The issue is finances: my spouse is salaried, I am freelance, but we've always pulled in the same annual amount and thus split absolutely everything 50/50 -- no shared bank accounts or credit cards. We're not ready to start separation proceedings while we still try to work on saving our marriage, but I am about to book a new gig that will quadruple my annual earnings in one lump sum for a 6 month job. I would like to protect that sum from becoming "joint property" as I would like to still be married when I sign the job contract -- we're not ready to throw in the towel yet. My husband is okay with signing off on this, as our finances have always been separate and this is just a continuation of that. What kind of simple paperwork do we need that we can sign and notarize to keep my upcoming windfall out of the equation while we figure out our marriage? [more inside]
My fiancee and I have spent much of our adult lives travelling and have a fondness for our time spent in the United States. As such we would love to be married there. We are planning to hold a humanist ceremony / blessing / non–legal ceremony in the UK and rather than the usual Registry Office ceremony to take care of the legal things, we were hoping to Honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest and get legally married while there. I am trying to work out a few things … [more inside]
Should I try to deal with these two difficult and scary legal situations at the same time? I have been in an abusive marriage for years and am thinking about divorce as things are getting worse, but also, a few months ago I got raped by a person I knew and trusted. [more inside]
My mother-in-law's husband died last year, and she has nominated me to be the administrator of his estate. I have a copy of his living trust, but it is missing the trust related documents, transfer documents, etc. The trust was prepared in 1987. I tried to contact the attorney for the trustor, but it looks like he has either died or retired. Is there a way for me to obtain the missing documents? I live in California.
What options does a landlord likely have when a tenant's guest/friend is slashing the neighbors' tires and threatening them and has a criminal record? Assume standard lease in Illinois and that the guest definitely did it but the police won't make an arrest yet. The tenant has done nothing wrong.
I am a first year law student in Seattle. I am looking for a summer internship/job. I want to work on civil rights issues and technology issues, and I'm pretty sure the future will involve a lot of overlap between the two (issues like this, for example). [more inside]
I am asking for a friend, who says -- "I am in contract negotiations with my former employer to develop an indeterminate number of software icons for their software product." [more inside]
What are the legal ramifications (if any) of publicly misrepresenting the outcome of a lawsuit before it has reached a formal resolution? [more inside]
On Christmas Eve, a freak wind from the north knocked a large part of one of our cedar trees over. Part of the damage involved our neighbor's car, which was parked in her driveway. I am told that her automobile insurance is the legal payer, and, since the trees were healthy (although big), we have no legal obligation to her. [more inside]
Hi MeFi, I was on the receiving end of a car accident which occurred last week during rush-hour. I was traveling home from work on a very busy Charlestown Ave when I got had another car smash into mine. I had a bad case of whiplash and went sorta blank for a second but after I came out of the car I noticed a busted BMW behind with a driver still sitting there. The girl from the second car fled the scene. My suspicion was that she didn't have a license or didn't own the car or both. So in short, BMW (Car A) > smashes into grey vehicle with (Car B) which in turn smashes into me (Car C). My insurance adjustor is saying this is a complicated case because of how 'many impacts' I felt or heard. What the hell does this even mean? It felt like someone hit me with a hammer. He said the first party which caused the scene hasn't yet accepted responsibility and they have 30 days to do it or not. I'm sorta left broken and had two trips to ER and two MRIs taken which showed I have an upper disc injury in neck and shoulders. The back side of my car is completely damaged with me being unable to shut my trunk. It is still drivable but it looks like hell. I don't want to dish out $500 for a rental since I'm already drowning in bills. Insurance is telling me that I can't get reimbursed for the rental until someone accepts responsibility. Is this how it usually goes with insurance companies in USA? I'm flabbergasted. Should I get an attorney?
A friend in Victoria is trying to extricate herself from an emotionally abusive relationship. She has been living with this man for ten years and they own a house jointly. [more inside]
We are a well known bicycle brand, and one of our local dealers closed up shop over night with no notice to us or even their employees. They have over $20,000 in debt with us. What are our options? Our dealer owes us over $20,000 in debt for stock, with some invoices close to 4 months past due. [more inside]
Attorneys, law students, anyone: what is the best legal opinion you've ever read? I am fascinated by legal rhetoric and I want to read the best-written, best-argued, opinions (majority or dissenting) you can come up with. Amicus briefs will also be accepted. And the case doesn't need to be historical or momentous, nor does it need to be a Supreme Court case, but cool of it is.
My brother is being charged with a criminal offense -- I am researching similar cases to get a general understanding. Is it possible to somehow obtain Pre-Sentence Reports and Psychologist Reports from past-cases posted in say CanLII?
Can I make a card game database website, that reproduces card text and/or images, without running into legal trouble from the creators? [more inside]
A family member is a physical therapist assistant in Virginia. They just completed a one or two-year massage therapy course at a local college (I forget the details). They want to know if the course meets their continuing education requirements. [more inside]
I've had an idea for a product review site and am trying to discern whether product photographs can be legally reproduced on the website, from where fair-use photographs should be obtained and how, if at all, they should be attributed. [more inside]
My spouse is trying to submit their D.Phil thesis to an online research archive. Archive wants all content to not be in breach of copyright. Thesis has a photograph in it which requires copyright permission but we're stumped on how to get it. What now? [more inside]
In Canada, if someone asks you if you are recording a conversation, can you lie and continue to record it? [more inside]
I made a major appliance purchase at a major brick-and-mortar retailer via the web earlier this month. When the items were delivered they didn't fit and had to be returned. The items came in a set and, checking my credit card, it appears that, while they initialy charged my for the set, when they refunded me they refunded both for the individual items and the set. Obviously I have to give them their money back (if not legally, then ethically: it's a couple thousand dollars), but I'm concerned about the right way to go about this to avoid getting double charged the other way and to minimize my own hassle. [more inside]
Can a software company in California insist that employees participate in a system that limits drinking after hours? [more inside]
None of this is legal advice. Got it. I'm trying to determine whether legal advice is even worth pursuing. Our house was damaged by a water leakage incident which the homeowner's insurance agreed to fully cover to the tune of about 60K. We were not living in the house at the time, which was actually up for sale. More excitement below the fold! [more inside]
I really like this chandelier. Buy-able versions I have found are way out of my budget, but the designer posted instructions for a similar DIY version. I live in a rented apartment in NYC - are there legal/insurance/safety issues I need to be concerned about? [more inside]
A friend (no, really!) will officially be divorced next Monday, and will then own 50% of a residential property in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The property has one house (that's basically a teardown), currently occupied by their ex (with no intention of selling), and one barn. The rest is undeveloped property. The property is in a great school district (Central Bucks). Is there ANY way they can sell my 50% stake in the property. They're wiling to sell at a discount and talk to developers, banks, private investors, whatever.
46, lawyer, musician. I have been fallow for an extended time and am coming out of a bankruptcy and divorce. I have a couple years experience as a criminal defense lawyer (from 4-5 yrs ago) but haven't really done much since. I don't want to continue in criminal law. I find jobs that are intriguing but my resume is spotty at best. So how do I write an effective cover letter and create a resume that doesn't reflect my lazy attitude toward work these last few years? [more inside]
My ex-wife has not paid her monthly fees on the land I sold her in 9 months now. Confounding details within... [more inside]
How do I go about getting an uncontested change of child custody and support in the state of New Mexico? [more inside]
I'm headed to BC (from WA) for a few hours for a class reunion. I had an unpaid ticket from Wyoming last year which likely turned into a bench warrant (am assuming, haven't gotten notice of anything, was due to not having my insurance card even though I had insurance). If I go to cross the border will they find that and deny me entry? [more inside]
Last week a condo unit above mine had an accidental flood. The water damaged about nine units including mine. As a resident in Ontario, how do I reclaim my expenses for the damage he caused. [more inside]
(Posting on behalf of a friend): I was convicted of a DUI in March 2014, and am trying to pick up the pieces. I need to pay for an SR-22 which is insurance on my license. If I do not pay for this insurance my license will lapse. The policy is less expensive if I also insure a vehicle but I will not need a car in the coming months and cannot afford the payments. I need help figuring out if it would be smarter to not pay for any insurance (letting my license lapse), to sell the car and use the profits to pay the SR-22, or to just keep the car (though I really do not want to). [more inside]
I'm repairing a section of picket fence that I had built ten years ago between my yard and the property next door. The fence fell down last spring. My neighbor didn't say anything about the fence or the repairs or property lines until the contractor I hired to repair the fence started putting new posts in the original fence post holes. Then she went even more nuts than she already was. [more inside]
FML Today I received a notice of "Unauthorized Use of Copyrighted Image" regarding a 7 year old blog post on my tiny, personal, completely not-for-profit website that only about 5 people ever read (that I had incidentally purged just 2 months ago) from a probable copyright troll (Sanders Law, PLLC). It isn't even signed by an actual lawyer, it's signed by a paralegal. I know YANAL, but I have no idea what to do or who I can turn to. [more inside]
I want to sort of lease my car (that I'm still making payments on) to someone in a different state. Am I crazy? [more inside]
I want to buy this hemp seed for my friend in Finland. I do not want to and am not willing to break any laws. If I obtain it, is it legal to take to Finland personally? Is it legal to send it in the mail? What laws are relevant? As far as I understand it's super low THC and is legal in many places. Thanks
I have an arbitration clause in my lease. Does this preclude me from using small claims court? [more inside]
I recently applied for and am now actively being considered for a legal assistant/senior case technician position with the federal government (Social Security Administration). The job description sounds a lot like what I used to do as a paralegal (reviewing records, analyzing cases, making recommendations for further action, contacting medical providers), but I'm worried that what I've actually applied for is a secretarial position (e.g., making travel arrangements, maintaining calendars, hanging out a copy machine a lot, collating and binding copies). [more inside]
Basically, he needs to pony up $23k a year ago and it doesn't look like he has any intention of doing so. [more inside]
I work in corrections. On facebook, on my page, I posted something that might have been a breach of confidentiality. Snowflake details inside. [more inside]
Lawyers: how do you decline helping out your friends? [more inside]
The door to the roof of my new NYC apartment beckons to me with dreams of sunset glasses of wine and weekend lunch picnics, but am I inviting trouble? Does "unofficial rooftop access" exist? I know people in the city hang out on their roofs all the time, but exactly how kosher is this? And what is the limit? Do landlords on average just turn a blind eye? Details inside. [more inside]
I'm looking for a well-written, balanced book on corporate personhood for research. Actually, could use two or three if possible, and links to good, extensive and well-researched non-political articles on the web would be helpful as well. [more inside]
My wife has inherited a sizable collection of records and CDs. What pitfalls do we have to watch out for when deciding how to dispose of these items? Details inside... [more inside]
My car failed its MOT yesterday and, as a result of my bad time management, the tax disc has expired today. I can't tax it without it being covered by a valid MOT certificate, but I need to get it to a garage for repairs so that it can pass the MOT. Is it legal for me to drive it to the mechanic? [more inside]
I currently attend a top 2 law school in the UK (no prize for guessing which), and am interested in working in the US after I graduate. While I am aware that I will be eligible to take the bar exam in NY and California with a degree from a common law jurisdiction, would my prospects of landing a law firm gig be appreciably augmented if I go for an LLM (or perhaps even a JD) at a US law school? [more inside]
We have brand-new, unused needles and a new, unopened Lantus insulin vial that we had bought for our cat, but our cat passed away late last month. We can't seem to figure out if it's legal to resell these prescription items. Is it? [more inside]
I am writing a memoir, in which living people, some of whom I am estranged from, will be portrayed. I will be changing any details which could lead to them being identified. I will be publishing it under a nom de plume. What else, to protect myself and them, legally and otherwise, do I need to know? [more inside]
I'm a 48 year old guy and in high school there was a group of 5 of us who were very tight. We remained tight through college and then on into family life. Then about 15 years ago one guy drifted off with his family. We all eventually lost contact with him. Maybe a phone call one Christmas or another. [more inside]
I'm considering purchasing a used motorcycle from a Craigslist seller (in Virginia/Washington DC). There is a lien on the title which he is to pay off after purchase. Am I being naive? [more inside]
About three years ago, I got a public intox in Iowa that was expunged. Now I'm applying for apartments in a new state and I was asked on the application if I have ever been convicted of a crime. I'm used to them asking about felony charges so I said no but now I'm not so sure if that wasn't a big mistake. [more inside]
My lease, like most, says that subleasing is not allowed without manager's consent. I came in on a sublease and later let the manager know I was planning on subleasing. She just declared she will not accept any subleasing any more. Does anyone know if this is legal for her to do this? It's breaking faith, but not breaking the literal contract. FYI, I live in Missouri.