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Happy Birthday: Legal Benefits of Being 18

Congratulations on turning 18 -- you have reached the age of majority! Officially, you are an adult who can go to war and get married without anyone's consent, rent an apartment or be sentenced to prison, and other grown up privileges.

We'll raise a glass to cheer that in a few years when you can legally drink alcohol. In the interim, let's consider the many things you will now be responsible for and able to do because you are an adult.

Are Parents Liable for a Minor Child's Contracts?

Your kids are great but they sometimes do foolish things and lately you've been wondering just how far your responsibility extends. You know you must feed, clothe, and shelter your children, provide them with care and an education. But are you also liable for their acts? What about if a minor child enters into a contract?

These are difficult questions that are best answered in the specific rather than the abstract. But an understanding of some parental liability and contracting basics can guide you to the right conclusion.

Car repairs can be a scary prospect. First there's the cost, the time it will take, and then the worry about the repairs being done right. Most mechanics do good and honest work, and care for our cars like they were their own. But other mechanics on the other hand...

So what happens if you get one of the bad guys? When can you sue a mechanic if they don't take good care of your car?

Who Pays for Stolen Packages?

A stolen package at Christmas time is a terrible thing. Whether it was a gift for your child, or something valuable sent from someone you care about -- you are going to be mad. And you are going to want some compensation. Can you look to the delivery company for a little payback?

Whether a delivery company will reimburse you for a stolen or lost package depends on a number of different factors, most importantly your contract. Yes, when you send a package you enter into a contract. The terms of that deal govern the extent to which you can seek reimbursement for a delivery that never arrives.

Wedding Woes: Can I Sue My Photographer?

Here comes the bride and she's all dressed in white. But wait! Where's the photographer?

If you spent many months planning a perfect wedding but something goes terribly wrong with the photographer, you do have recourse. Filing suit against your photographer won't make the special day go as planned -- too late for that -- but you may claim breach of contract.

5 Legal Tips for Hiring a Home Contractor

Your home is your castle. When your castle starts to crumble, it's time to call in a contractor. Before you begin fixating on bathroom fixtures, prepare yourself.

Hiring a contractor means entering a binding agreement that impacts a major investment: your home. So take a look at these five legal tips for getting the job done right.

It seems to happen every few months -- a new, "best ever" smartphone gets released and everyone scrambles to their carriers wondering how long they have left on their current cell phone contract before they can get the latest and greatest. While the contract commitment seems like a great way to save a few (hundred) bucks on a new phone, they can seem downright onerous a year later when a new new phone comes out.

Like gyms with their membership plans and dealerships with car leases, phone companies may seem to have you by the you-know-whats, but it turns out you may a have a few options for getting out of a cell phone contract early.

You signed the contract. You agreed to it. So, now you're stuck with the provisions of the lease regardless of whether or not they violate your rights!

Luckily for tenants, that's not true. Leases are contracts, so they must abide by contract laws. Unconscionable or illegal terms of a contract are unenforceable, regardless of the fact that the tenant signed the contract.

Here are some common unenforceable lease terms:

Maybe the car you drove off the lot isn't what you need anymore, or maybe the monthly lease payment isn't something you can afford. But after signing all of that paperwork, is there any way to get out of a car lease early without having to pay an arm and a leg to do it?

As it happens, there's more than one way to terminate a car lease, each having its own costs and benefits.

How to Get Out of Buying a House

Buying a house is a big decision. Huge! It's where you'll be spending everyday of your life for the foreseeable future. You'll have a mortgage, and you'll probably be spending the next 30 years paying it off.

So, it's understandable that some buyers may have cold feet. Can you leave the seller at the altar and back out of your contract?