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Whether your aunt doesn't know what size sweater you wear or has no idea that you wouldn't be caught dead in that sweater, your holiday gifts this year might not have been perfect. But a lack of perfection shouldn't be a problem -- you can always return or exchange the gift, right?

Not so fast, my unfulfilled friends. Absent a clear warranty or exchange policy, returning gifts to a store may not be as easy as you think. Here's what you need to know (and do) if a store won't take back a gift.

As you and your spouse worked for most of your lives, contributions to Social Security were automatically deducted from your paychecks. But the benefits that you're due to receive now that you're done working aren't quite so automatic.

You may have some choices to make when it comes to receiving Social Security benefits as a married couple, and certain decisions could be the difference between maximizing those benefits and leaving money on the table.

Financial experts will all say that planning for retirement should start as early as possible. Starting the process may be difficult for many 20 somethings who don't have a clue where to start. Dedicating a set percentage of your monthly income to savings is not appealing to anyone, let alone younger people just entering the workforce; but the benefits of consistently doing so are exponential.

If you're struggling to get started, below you'll find 3 essential tips to help you start planning for retirement.

When a person defaults on a loan, they may lose their home and have their credit rating ruined. But the effects of the default may not be limited to just that person -- enough loan defaults can be felt across an entire city.

That's what the city of Miami is claiming in a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo and Bank of America, trying to hold the lenders liable when irresponsible loans cause broader economic damage. The suit was initially dismissed by a trial court, but now the Supreme Court will review whether Miami can sue for discrimination, on the basis that predatory lending has harmed the city as a whole.

Some of us are counting down the days to retirement. Others are counting our pennies and wondering if we'll ever get to retire. And whether retirement sounds like a dream to you or a nightmare, you still have to prepare for it.

Here are some legal considerations as you near retirement, from our archives:

How to Legally Co-Own a House

When married couples buy a house, typically both names are put on the title, or deed, and both are considered the legal co-owners of the home. However, that is not the only way to legally co-own a home. In fact, many people that only own half a duplex actually co-own a home and don't even realize it.

Also, it is not too uncommon for friends and non-married couples to buy homes together, and this can be where things get more complicated. Questions arise such as:

When spouses separate, the world does not stop moving forward, despite the emotional turmoil. Everyday expenses still pile up. A joint debt, or obligation, remains a joint debt, for which the creditor can pursue either of you individually or jointly. The same way that a creditor can go after a co-signor of a loan, joint debts are payable and enforceable against both spouses even after the marriage ends, unless the debts are settled as part of the divorce or renegotiated with the creditor.

All too often, in the time between separating and divorcing, spouses will ruin each other’s credit because joint debts fall by the wayside. When parties cannot agree on how to divide their property and assets, a court will need to get involved, which can make the process take significantly longer. When a home mortgage or debts relating to children are involved, the shared finances and joint obligations become something that the separated parties need to discuss as early as possible.

We all have our retirement dreams. Some couples dream about retiring early, rich, and in a tropical location, while others just want an RV and a ticket to ride. When couples start planning for retirement, the big question is always whether their goal is actually achievable? This isn't just a financial question, but also a question of pragmatism.

After you have settled on the basic idea, you need to figure out the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the how.

The short answer to this question is a resounding: Maybe? Most states allow a party paying or receiving spousal support (or alimony) to ask the court for a modification based upon changed circumstances. Going back to school is certainly a changed circumstance. But whether or not spousal support will be changed is addressed on a case by case basis, with the court relying on whether it would be reasonable to do so.

The purpose of spousal support is to allow a spouse to maintain the same standard of living they became accustomed to during the marriage for a reasonable period of time and/or until the spouse can become self-sufficient. That reasonable period of time, in California, for example, is half the duration of the marriage, give or take a few units of measurement depending on individualized considerations such as education, earning capacity and child custody.

Am I Responsible for My Elderly Parents' Medical Bills?

As you get older, the roles reverse and you become responsible for your parents. Just as they cared for you when you were vulnerable, now you too must fend for them, especially if they are sick.

You understand this as a moral imperative, but you can't help wondering if there is a limit to this directive. Does it extend to paying parental debts when they are unable to cover their own costs, most notably medical bills?