Law and Daily Life - FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Is It Legal to Hit Your Pets?

There's a bit of controversy among pet owners about whether its legal to hit your pets.

In most jurisdictions, pets are considered "property" for purposes of determining custody during a divorce, for example. Pets also can't own property, which is why you generally shouldn't try to leave your dog your house in your will.

But do pets have legal protection when it comes to physical discipline?

Setting up a blog can be a great exercise, either as a way to keep track of your latest baking kick or even to bootstrap your fledgling small business.

But you should be aware of some of the most obvious legal problems that occur when bloggers step into the chaotic realm of the blogosphere. The last thing you'd want is for your puppy blog to get you sued or to put your safety at risk.

To keep our fellow bloggers safe and legally sound, we present these five legal red flags for blogs:

Florida's same-sex marriage ban was struck down Thursday by a federal judge, who stated that the law violated constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle found Florida's gay marriage prohibition unconstitutional because it denies gay couples the fundamental right to marry without any legally defensible justification. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Hinkle is the fifth judge to rule against Florida's gay marriage ban in the past six weeks; however, he's the first federal judge to do so, and his ruling is the first to have statewide effect.

What can Floridians expect from this latest gay marriage ruling?

With the seeming ubiquity of Facebook sharing and the proliferation of high-quality mobile phone cameras, it's easier than ever for parents to flood the Internet with pictures of their babies.

But an increasing number of parents are opting for a Facebook blackout when it comes to photos of their kids, reports The Associated Press. Why are more and more parents choosing not to chronicle their young children's lives on Facebook?

Here are five reasons (including a few legal ones) that you may want to keep baby pics off Facebook:

Delaware is pushing estate planning into the digital sphere with a new law that allows loved ones to access online accounts after a person's death.

The Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act (HB 345) was signed into law by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell last week, broadening digital access for legal heirs. In a press release from the Delaware House Democrats, the bill was described as the "first comprehensive state statute dealing with the disposition of a decedent's digital assets in the nation."

But what will the law actually allow for digital estates after death?

It may seem like an easy way to save a couple of bucks: jumping the turnstile to get a free ride on the subway, or sneaking through the back doors of a city bus or streetcar.

But cities are beginning to crack down on transit fare evasion. In New York City, for example, fare-beating arrests -- as opposed to the less-serious ticket for fare evasion -- jumped 69 percent between 2008 to 2013, and they are on pace to increase even more this year, reports the New York Daily News. More than 37,000 of fare-evasion arrests in NYC have resulted in incarceration.

What can happen if you get cited for transit fare evasion?

Back-to-school time can be a powder keg for divorced or divorcing parents, especially when it comes to dealing with child custody.

While "divorce season" kicks off on New Years Day, as two divorce-mediation experts write for The Huffington Post, divorcing or divorced couples with children will test their mettle when summer ends and the school year begins. Meeting with teachers may take a back seat to battling with your ex about taking your kids to school.

Help yourself, and your children, by avoiding unnecessary conflict and remembering to update your child custody arrangements. If you haven't done so yet, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

Filing for government unemployment insurance benefits can be a life saver when you lose your job and need to pay bills while you look for another one. But while collecting unemployment, are you allowed to go on vacation?

In exchange for unemployment benefits, you are bound to follow certain rules regarding what you need to do -- which typically includes looking for a new job -- as well as rules about what you shouldn't do, such as failing to report any earned income other than unemployment benefits.

So what about leaving town for a little rest and relaxation? Here are some general considerations:

You may think an email message is the "smoking gun" in your case, and you'd like to use it as evidence. But legally, it isn't always as easy as bringing a printed-out copy of an important email to court.

The rules of evidence may require that the email be authenticated and to be introduced in a way that doesn't violate the general prohibition on hearsay evidence.

With these concerns in mind, here are a few tips on how to use email as evidence:

Stopping for school buses isn't just polite, it's the law. And as many impatient drivers have learned the hard way, not giving school buses a wide berth can lead to some serious legal consequences.

In Minnesota, a truck driver was charged with two misdemeanors last week for failing to stop for a school bus, allegedly almost striking a sixth grader who was about to board, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. These incidents are more common than they should be, and drivers should be aware of the risks they run by not giving school buses the right of way.

So what legal consequences can befall a driver who doesn't stop for a school bus?