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

February 2018 Archives

Coinbase to Hand IRS Info on 13K Users

Due to the general animosity toward paying taxes, people sometimes try to hide, lie about, or simply not report all of their income and/or property to the IRS. But, those who thought they could keep their cryptocurrency information from the IRS may be out of luck. A popular cryptocurrency wallet called Coinbase has agreed to provide the IRS with account information on 13,000 users.

When to Sue a School for Racial Discrimination

It's unfortunate, but racial discrimination can occur anywhere, including at schools. In fact, you don't even have to be a student to experience racial discrimination at a school. Just ask four Native American parents who have sued a Montana school district for racial discrimination.

In their lawsuit, the parents claim that they were not allowed into a basketball game because they weren't white. More specifically, they allege that a school official told them, "We don't have any workers yet so we are only letting in white people." If this is true, it seems like a pretty clear case of racial discrimination. But, you may wonder about other instances when a school can be sued for racial discrimination.

When to Use Mediation for Elder Abuse

Mediation and litigation are two different ways to resolve legal disputes. While mediation is often a part of litigation, it doesn't always have to be. Disputes can be mediated outside of litigation and lawsuits.

There are pluses and minuses for either choice, and either can be the better option depending on the case. If you're in the midst of an elder abuse case, you may be wonder which one is right for you?

Same-sex Couple Sue to Foster Refugee Children

There are many couples who want to have a child, but can't have one of their own. There are also many children who are waiting to be adopted. Seems like there's a simple solution, but it's not always that easy for couples who want a child to actually adopt one. Take for example Fatma Marouf and Bryne Esplin.

The couple was unable to have a child with alternative pregnancy methods, and decided to foster a refugee child. However, when they tried through a federally funded organization, they were denied.

Is It Illegal to Hide Cryptocurrency in Divorce?

It's never a good idea to try to cheat the law. When going through a divorce, property division begins by determining the assets of the splitting couple then divvying up those assets.

Hiding property is, as you might expect, a regular fear and feature of the divorce process. Stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and 401(k)s can be tracked down by your ex's lawyers. As can (more easily) the house, the car, and the dog. But what about anonymously held cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin?

Can a Hotel Check Your Room If You Post 'Do Not Disturb'?

Many hotel guests want privacy, and giving guests what they want is good for hotels. So as more hotels and casinos announce regular check-in policies for guest rooms, questions are being raised over the wisdom and legality of the universal 'do not disturb' placard. The answer might surprise you.

What to Do If Someone Else Claims Your Child as a Dependent

You can claim a $4,050 dependent tax exemption for each qualifying child under federal tax law. Married couples filing jointly generally claim their children on their return, which is easy enough to manage between them. But when parents file separately, which often happens in the case of divorce or separation, the familiar tug-of-war over the kid(s) can extend to tax returns.

So what happens if someone else claims your child as a dependent?

Tips for Students to Help Prevent School Shootings

It unfortunately seems that the frequency of school shootings has increased. Just yesterday, at least 17 people were killed during a school shooting in Florida. Every time there's a school shooting, the debate on gun control comes to the forefront of the news. While this is a valid debate, it seems that more is at play than just preventing people from being able to buy guns. There may be things that parents, staff members at school, and other students can do to help prevent these tragedies in the future.

Student Loan Forgiveness Options May Disappear Under New Budget Plan

Higher education is important to many people, but it doesn't come cheap. In order to get a college or graduate degree, many people need student loans. Of course, the hope is that once you receive a degree, you'll be able to get a job, and repay your student loans.

However, this isn't as easy as it theoretically seems. For this reason, there are various repayment options for people who take out student loans. But, under President Trump's new spending plan proposal, there are many changes to repayment options for those who owe money for federal student loans.

Tips for Talking to a Lawyer on the Phone

Almost everyone knows that you have a right to counsel if you've been charged with a crime. People will also be inclined to seek out a lawyer if they want to file a lawsuit, or if they're being sued. But, there are many other instances where a lawyer can be very helpful.

For example, it's usually a good idea to consult with a lawyer while planning your estate because he or she can ensure that your estate plan is in compliance with your state's laws, and can advise you on how to reduce your estate taxes. But, how do you decide when to call an attorney? And how do you decide if the attorney you call is right for you? These are valid and important questions to ask yourself when you're thinking about hiring an attorney. Read on for some tips for talking to a lawyer on the phone.

Should You Add Bitcoin to Your Estate Plan?

Even though many people may feel uncomfortable planning for death, it's an important thing to do, especially for your loved ones. In the absence of an estate plan, property will be divided based on state intestacy laws, which could result in your assets going to people you don't want them to go to, and it can be a hassle for your loved ones.

Assuming that you've decided to plan your estate, you may wonder what you should include. Well, the more detailed you have, the better. And, if your property changes -- maybe you added new investments, such as Bitcoin -- it's best to add that to your estate plan as well.

How Does Immigration Status Affect Child Custody?

Divorce is hard enough for anyone to go through, but add having to determine child custody, and it only gets harder. Sometimes parents are able to reach a custody agreement themselves, other times the parents may need to have a judge decide on the child custody arrangements.

If you're an immigrant -- legal or illegal -- you may be concerned that your immigration status will impact a child custody agreement. After all, doesn't it seem likely that a U.S. citizen would be favored over a non-citizen when determining who gets custody? The answer is no -- immigration status is not generally a factor in determining who gets custody.

Ohio Lethal Injection Execution Method Ruled Constitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of Ohio's lethal injection protocol. In a unanimous ruling, a three judge panel upheld the district court's previous decision denying death-row inmates Raymond Tibbetts and Alva Campbell their request to enjoin their pending executions. It's the latest case in a string of stories concerning the state's method of execution.

When Is It Illegal for a Nursing Home to Evict Residents?

There are broad legal protections for nursing home residents. Federal and state laws prevent nursing homes from arbitrarily evicting patients, a process called 'involuntary discharge.' Yet complaints about wrongful nursing home evictions are rising. It's a problem that wraps up the care needs of resident patients with the difficult realities of running a nursing home.

Accused of Domestic Violence: What to Do

Domestic violence doesn't discriminate -- it can occur in rich homes and poor homes, and can affect people of any race. While domestic violence laws vary from state to state, it's usually classified as a serious crime in all jurisdictions. Unfortunately, sometimes someone may accuse his or her partner of domestic violence even though it's not true. A person may do this out of spite or to gain the upper hand in a divorce. However, even if the domestic violence charges are dismissed, just being accused of domestic violence can have a negative impact on your life.

Florida Bill Bans Forced Child Marriage

While most people seem to be getting married at an older age these days, the age of consent under state marriage laws varies between 16 and 18. But there are instances where the age of consent is even lower, provided that there's parental and/or judicial consent. While this may seem reasonable since the assumption is that parents and judges have a child's best interests at heart, this is not always the case.

Sometimes, due to various circumstances, a child is forced by his or her parents to get married. To address this concern and protect children from being forced into marriage, the Florida Senate recently passed a bill to end child marriage in the state.