The American Bar Association Family Legal Guide offers the most comprehensive, useful, and authoritative information available on how the law affects individuals at home, at work, and at play. This practical guide will help consumers steer clear of many legal pitfalls and will guide readers to a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
The book has been prepared by many experts in a wide range of legal areas, under the careful direction of the American Bar Association, the nation's leading authority on legal matters. Using a straightforward question-and-answer format -- along with numerous sidebars, charts and graphs -- this volume is divided into specific subject areas for easy reference.
The first chapter, "When and How to Use a Lawyer," helps you determine when to contact a lawyer, how to find one -- and which kind; it will explain the questions to ask and provides an understanding of fees and expenses. Also included are the alternatives to lawsuits and what you can do if a lawyer does not satisfy you. Next is a clear and thorough explanation of "How the Legal System Works." It clearly explains the different court systems and discusses juries, trials, verdicts, and post-trial procedures.
The rest of the book looks at how the law affects all of us in our everyday lives, focusing on our questions and concerns as we go about our daily affairs.
For example, families are tremendously important to us, and the chapter on "Family Law" provides valuable information on marriage (and money), children, separation, annulment, and divorce.
Several chapters look at how the law affects where we live. "Buying and Selling a Home" introduces the players involved and provides tips on selecting a "seller's broker" and a "buyer's broker," as well as how to work without an agent. This chapter also explains your rights concerning the purchase contract, home inspections, home loans, the title and closing, as well as tax considerations and the Fair Housing Act. "Home Ownership" discusses how the law affects you once you've bought your home. It covers property rights and restrictions, managing neighborhood problems, and protecting your rights when contracting for home improvements and repairs. The chapter on "Renting Residential Property" examines the landlord/tenant relationship, leases (and their termination), maintenance, security deposits, rent control, and fair housing laws.
The chapters on "Consumer Credit," "Consumer Bankruptcy" and "Contracts and Consumer Law" cover such topics as: choosing a credit card, credit records debt collections and the law; straight bankruptcy and its alternatives; and types of contracts, breaches, and remedies. The "Automobiles" chapter takes you through buying a new car, buying or selling a used car, warranties, inspections, your auto and the police, as well as accidents and insurance.
Work is also central to the lives of most of us. "Law and the Workplace" lays out the federal laws that apply on the job and takes up the hiring process, discrimination, privacy, AIDS and the employee, unions, safety, employment termination, and pension plans. A chapter on "Forming and Operating a Small Business" provides advice on types of business organizations, ways of getting organized, and your rights when dealing with operational problems and organic changes.
"Personal Injury" helps you understand your rights during claims of negligence, auto accidents, injuries on your (and others') property as well as medical malpractice, liabilities and intentional wrongs. "Criminal Justice" examines the basics of criminal law, defenses against criminal charges and other sentencing and appeals processes. A chapter on "The Rights of Older Americans" discusses pensions, social security, health and long-term care benefits, controlling your own affairs, and legal services for the elderly. The "Estate Planning" chapter explains wills, trusts, living trusts, death and taxes.
The American Bar Association Family Legal Guide should be at the fingertips of anyone who wants to be an informed legal consumer.