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


Any time a person files for bankruptcy, federal courts will apply a means test to see if the debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The first step in that test is to compare the person’s average monthly income for the six months preceding the filing to their state’s median family income. If your monthly income exceeds the state median, you may not qualify for Chapter 7.

And any time there is math involved, a calculator is sure to follow. Here are the numbers that you need to punch into a Chapter 7 means test calculator, and where to find them.

Last week, the California arm of the National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit in San Diego's federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the state's recent ban on high capacity magazines. This is the second lawsuit filed by gun advocates against the gun control legislation that took effect last year in California.

In addition to the case against high capacity magazines, a case was filed last month in the federal court for the Central District of California challenging the ban on assault weapons. The NRA previously announced that they expect to file five separate lawsuits challenging different parts of the legislation.

While it is no surprise that most lawsuits settle without ever going to trial, many non-lawyers are surprised by how effective formal mediation can be at resolving legal disputes. Alternative dispute resolution has emerged over the past few decades as a successful tool to resolve legal disputes, often more quickly than going through a trial. Unlike a judge's order, or jury's verdict, settlement agreements can also provide for forms of relief that can't be awarded by a court. Among the most requested non-court awardable relief is a simple apology.

The goal of any mediation session is to reach a settlement. One of the most effective ways to reach a settlement during mediation is to allow parties to interact, with help from their lawyers, to try to find middle ground, and allowing those interactions to be off the record, so to speak. Requiring mediation to be confidential allows the parties to more meaningfully interact and explore potential resolutions that might be satisfactory to all involved without fear that settlement offers or proposal will be used against them. Mediation confidentiality is designed to facilitate and encourage the exchange of settlement offers. So how does it work in practice?

Inheritances are not treated the same way as normal marital property in a divorce. Generally, so long as there has not been any commingling with marital property, an inheritance can remain separate property, just like premarital assets. Commingling occurs when separate property, usually money, is mixed with marital property. For instance, depositing an inheritance check into a joint bank account is likely to convert it from separate property to marital property.

From time to time, a parent will need to take precaution to make sure their children's inheritances are safe from their own spouse, or their adult child's spouse. This issue is particularly pronounced for non-marital children, or when parents believe an adult child is at risk of divorce.

In divorce, as in life, timing is everything. And while there might be a million factors affecting a decision to get divorced -- not the least of which might be personal safety -- there are also a few legal considerations to take into account when you're pondering the right time to file for divorce.

Here are a few tips on timing your divorce, from our archives:

Medical marijuana has been hailed as a wonder drug. Doctors frequently prescribe or recommend it to patients on opiates as it has potential to provide effective pain relief without the negative side effects of opiates.

Although marijuana can be used to safely treat a variety of ailments, illnesses, and diseases, health insurance companies do not currently provide coverage for it. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, because the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) puts marijuana on the same level as heroin, most health insurance companies' policies require denying coverage. However, other types of insurance may actually be available.

While filing for bankruptcy can provide relief from certain kinds of debts, that relief isn't always available to everyone. There are different types of bankruptcy filings available to individuals and each has its own requirements that need to be met first.

For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as "liquidation" or "straight bankruptcy" may allow you to get rid of most of your debts and start over with a clean slate, but first you must qualify for Chapter 7 by meeting certain criteria. Here are the debt and eligibility requirements for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Over the last few decades, most courts have begun requiring parties to attempt mediation, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), at various stages in the litigation process. The mediation process is very effective at resolving disputes as it forces the parties to realistically evaluate their positions, then, weigh that against the risk of success.

So if mediation talks break down or one party wants out, what happens next? Below you'll find some important information on what to do after a mediation session fails.

While most people tend to think of discrimination in terms of race, gender, disability, ethnicity, and age, another category exists that many people are unaware of entirely: genetic information. Not only do civil rights laws protect against discrimination on the basis of a person's genetic information, there are strong prohibitions against employers even conducting genetic testing on their employees.

A person's genetic information can include information that may not necessarily reflect a disability, but rather a personal trait, medical information, or other characteristics. When an employment action is taken that is based upon a person's genetic information, like a decision based upon race, it will be considered impermissible. The EEOC advises that, under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), employment decisions based on genetic information are never permissible because genetic information is 'not relevant to an individual's current ability to work.'

Last week, President Donald Trump signed another executive order, this time creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to investigate voting processes and registration for federal elections. Ostensibly, this commission will root out past voter fraud and advise the Oval Office on measures to prevent it in the future.

But the American Civil Liberties Union is wondering why there's a need to create such a commission in the first place. On the same day Trump signed his executive order, the ACLU filed a freedom of information request for any evidence the Trump administration has supporting its claims of voter fraud.