(844) 815-9632

Daylight Saving Time

Legal How-To: Becoming a Guardian

Legal guardians can be appointed to take care of children and incapacitated adults. So how does one become a legal guardian? Becoming a legal guardian requires a court order. Once the guardianship relationship is established, the guardian will be legally responsible for the care and supervision of minors or adults who are unable to care for themselves. Here are the basic steps toward becoming a guardian: Fill out and file forms with the court. The first step you need to take to become a guardian is to fill out the appropriate forms and file them with the court. You should obtain forms from the county where the person needing a guardian lives. For example, in California, a potential guardian will need to fill out a Petition for Appointment of Guardian (among other forms), file the forms, and give notice to the appropriate people and agencies. This will probably include relatives of the person you're seeking guardianship over. Provide proof that the person needs a guardian. In some scenarios, like if a child's parents pass away, it's evident that a guardian is needed to step in. For children, the court will look at the child's best interests in deciding if you're the best guardian choice. However, for incapacitated adults, you'll need to provide proof that the person has a disability that imposes great limitations upon his ability to take care of himself, earn a living, or live independently without the care of others. For incapacitated adults, the court will likely only give guardians the power to oversee the things the individual can't accomplish by himself. Prepare for a court investigation. Once the forms have been processed by the court, a court investigator will prepare an investigative report. When minors are involved, a court investigator will likely visit the home and interview the child and her family and conduct background checks on the guardian. For adults needing a guardian, they'll likely need to undergo a psychological evaluation that will be presented to the court. Attend a court hearing. Guardianship issues are usually decided by a family court or probate court. Some cases are straightforward. But if there are unresolved issues -- including questions about your fitness as a potential guardian or the capacity of the person to be placed under guardianship -- a judge may order a trial. If that happens, you may want to seek help from a legal professional. Need More Help? While you're allowed to represent yourself at a guardianship hearing, it's a good idea to at least consult a family law or probate and estate planning attorney for more guidance on how to present your case. Local attorneys will be familiar with your local courts and judges, and will be able to offer advice tailored to your unique situation. It may also be wise to call an attorney when you're beginning the guardianship process, to make sure you're going through the steps correctly. To learn more, check out FindLaw's comprehensive section on Guardianship. Are you facing a legal issue you'd like to handle on your own? Suggest a topic for our Legal How-To series by sending us a tweet @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #HowTo. Related Resources: How to Establish Guardianship of a Child FAQs (FindLaw) What is Guardianship of a Child? The Legal Battle Over Michael Jackson's Kids (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 3rd Party Guardianship Petition OK in "Octo-mom" case (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Sign Up for Our Free Legal Planning Newsletter (FindLaw's Legal Heads-Up)
continue reading

Supreme Ct. Lets ‘I Heart Boobies’ Ruling Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the student free-speech case about a school's ban on "I Heart Boobies" cancer awareness bracelets, Reuters reports. That means the August 2013 decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the students who wanted to don the bracelets, remains intact. It's a major victory for the students in the Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania. U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Upon receiving the school district's petition for certiorari, the U.S. Supreme Court considered a number of factors on whether to hear the case. Unfortunately, we don't know why the Court declined to hear the case. It rejected the case from the school district without comment, which is standard. Regardless, the decision leaves intact the 3rd Circuit's ruling: School officials can prohibit statements that are lewd or obscene. However, messages that might offend some, but also make a social or political statement, are protected by the First Amendment. What If the High Court Had Taken Up the Case? If the Supreme Court had accepted the case, it could potentially have joined the ranks of historic decisions issued by the Court on public school dress codes and the constitutional rights of students. The bracelets case referenced the following cases: Tinker v. Des Moines School District from 1969 (ruling schools can't ban student speech unless necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or rights of others); Bethel School District v. Fraser from 1986 (allowing schools to ban lewd and indecent messages); and Morse v. Frederick from 2007 (ruling a school that punished a student for displaying a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner during a school assembly didn't violate the student's First Amendment rights). The school district claimed the 3rd Circuit had invented a new test for student free speech by relying on the concurring opinion (not the majority opinion) in the Supreme Court's Morse decision. Though the Supreme Court passed on the "I Heart Boobies" case this time around, the issue is still split nationally and could bubble up again in the future. After all, even the 3rd Circuit showed a dramatic split over the matter. The court ordered an en banc review of the case -- as in, the entire circuit court -- because there was disagreement among the judges. Even en banc, the court was split 9-5 in favor of the students. Related Resources: Supreme Court declines 'I (heart) Boobies' (The Philadelphia Inquirer) 'I Heart Boobies' Appeal: Will Supreme Ct. Hear It? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Third Circuit Court of Appeals Hears 'I Heart Boobies' Arguments (FindLaw's U.S. Third Circuit Blog) The "I (Heart) Boobies!" Bracelets Controversy Goes to Court: Why the Students Are Right and the Schools Are Wrong (FindLaw's Writ)
continue reading

Getty Makes 35M Images Free for Bloggers’ Use

Getty Images is now allowing bloggers to use 35 million of its images for free as long as they're used for non-commercial purposes. Despite Getty placing a watermark on all its online images, Getty executives are aware that people have been copying and pasting copyrighted pictures without permission. So they've created a new system that allows select Getty images to be embedded on websites, with the proper attributions prominently displayed, Forbes reports. What do bloggers need to know about using Getty's free images? Getty's Free 'Embedded Viewer' Now that Getty is allowing users free access to millions of its images, it's also removing the watermark from the photos it's providing for free. The problem with Getty's old watermark system was that once an image was purchased, the watermark would be removed; once removed and placed on a website, anyone online could copy and paste the image and use it without proper attribution or permission from the original owner. Instead of a watermark, Getty is now allowing bloggers to embed many of its photos -- but only via a new "embedded viewer" tool. The tool drops the image into a blog or website with a footer crediting Getty and linking people to its licensing page, according to Forbes. The footer and link could help reduce copyright infringement because they don't allow users to use the image without including a link to Getty's licensing page. A Reminder About Fair Use Laws Bloggers using Getty's new "embedded viewer" generally won't have to worry about copyright infringement -- as long as they're not using the images for a commercial purpose. (However, Getty doesn't mind if you make a little money off your blog via Google Ads, Forbes reports.) Still, it's important to keep fair use laws in mind when adding images, videos, and other multimedia to your personal (or commercial) website. Fair use allows the use of copyrighted material without permission from the original author under certain circumstances, including: Criticism, News reporting, Comment, Teaching, Parody, and Scholarship and research. For example, if you're a college student researching political issues and you use an image of two politicians at a meeting for your term paper, that's probably protected under fair use law. On the other hand, if a person uses a copyrighted image to advertise his lawn-mowing business, then that's likely to be considered copyright infringement. Even with Getty's free images, using them in advertisements, promotions, or advertising is not allowed. Although 35 million of Getty's stock images are now free for non-commercial use by the public, bloggers don't have free access to Getty's entire collection of images, reports Forbes. For that, you'll still have to pay. Related Resources: The world's largest photo service just made its pictures free to use (The Verge) What Is Fair Use? Consider These 4 Factors (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

Spring Break in Mexico: 5 Legal Tips to Know

According to the U.S. State Department, 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to Mexico for Spring Break every year. While the vast majority of them enjoy their Mexico vacations without a hitch, the State Department cautions that "several may die, hundreds will be arrested, and still more will make mistakes that could affect them for the rest of their lives," Examiner.com reports. Here are five legal tips for spring breakers in Mexico: Drinking in public. Technically, it is illegal to walk the streets of Mexico with an open container of alcohol, though images of blacked out college kids meandering through Tijuana might suggest otherwise when it comes to actual enforcement of the law. Still, be careful. Using drugs. In 2009, Mexico decriminalized the possession of up to 5 grams of cannabis (roughly four joints), but people caught with that amount can still be detained by police, The Associated Press reports. The same law also decriminalized up to half a gram of cocaine, 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams for LSD. Anything more than that can lead to imprisonment without bail for up to a year before a case is even tried, according to the State Department. Taking a taxi. While in Mexico, only use the licensed and regulated "sitio" taxis (pronounced SEE-tee-oh). Just like in any other place, using an unlicensed taxi in Mexico increases your risk of getting robbed, raped, or kidnapped. Driving in Mexico. Carry your U.S. driver's license with you when driving in Mexico and make sure the owner of the car is in the car with you. If you get into a car accident, know that you may be taken into police custody until it is determined who is at fault and whether you have the ability to pay any penalty. The State Department therefore strongly recommends purchasing a full coverage insurance policy that will cover the cost of bail. If you rent a moped or car, make sure to purchase third-party insurance (your credit card insurance might not cover you in Mexico). Swimming. Standards of security, safety, and supervision may not reach the levels expected in the United States. Watch for safety warnings of rough seas. If black or red flags are displayed, stay out of the water. It's best to swim where there's a lifeguard (and that applies to swimming pools too). Beware undertow and rip tides in some areas of Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Mazatlan and Oaxaca. There are plenty of perfectly safe historic, cultural, and culinary travel adventures to be had in Mexico. It ultimately comes down to being smart and playing by the rules. Related Resources: Mexico: Safety tips for young adults going south for spring break (Los Angeles Times) Spring Break Abroad? Get a Power of Attorney (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What to Do If You're Arrested in a Foreign Country (FindLaw's Blotter) Spring Break Stabbing Leads to Coca-Cola Suit (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

Daylight Saving: Time for It to End?

Is it time for Daylight Saving Time to end? That's the feeling of many of DST's opponents who are pushing for state laws that seek to sunset the decades-long practice. Here are some considerations for those wondering about the end of Daylight Saving Time: Permanent DST? Or Ignore It? Although the majority of states currently observe DST, some of them are now pushing back. In Florida, two state legislators are proposing that the Sunshine State spring forward in March -- but never fall back. Representatives Mark Danish and Darren Soto want to permanently set Florida on Eastern Daylight Saving Time in order to save energy and boost the economy, reports Tampa Bay's WTSP-TV. This is the opposite position toward daylight saving of another sun-rich state, Arizona, which has chosen for decades to ignore DST so that residents can get some respite from the blazing desert sun. Missouri legislators are seeking to push the state permanently into DST as well -- as long as 19 other states will do the same. The Kansas City Star reports that HB340, approved by the Missouri House of Representatives in April 2013, will move Missouri permanently to Central Daylight Saving Time (CDT), as long as 20 states total agree to move their clocks forward. Many States, Territories Ignore DST Already As mentioned above, DST isn't a universal truth. Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not observe DST -- likely because at latitudes near the equator, daylight amounts don't vary as much with the seasons. States which straddle time zones have the option under federal law to ignore DST, although it causes a very tricky time situation in places like Indiana. In places where separate cities within the same state observe time as a local phenomenon, commercial operations based on hourly deadlines would become very confusing. Any statewide changes to Daylight Saving Time not authorized by the Uniform Time Act may need to receive federal authorization from Congress, but no state has yet challenged this authority. Related Resources: END DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME (Petition2Congress) Daylight Saving Time: A Legal Timeline (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) How Did Presidents Day Become a Holiday? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Columbus Day History: How It Became a Holiday (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading