JustAnswer Blog: Legal

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Blond woman with scissors cutting a man's hair.

(Photo: Flickr/Michael Dorausch)

Will a cease-and-desist order ruin my hair salon?

Q: I got a cease-and-desist letter for doing hair without a license. (It's from the State Board of Cosmetology in South Carolina.) What should I do now?

A: This is not a mere letter; it's an order. The board has reason to believe you are practicing without a license. If...

Smiling mom holding up her infant.

(Photo: Flickr/Beatrice Murch)

If lesbians adopt in one state, is it legal in others?

Q: I live in Arizona where there are no benefits for lesbian couples. My partner and I are planning on having a baby. If we adopt a baby in Washington state, would the adoption be valid in Arizona?

A: The problem with an adoption is that you or your partner must live in...

For sale sign with "foreclosure" on top, in lawn of nice white house.

Buying a foreclosure: You may be liable for old fees

Q: I just bought a foreclosed property in Florida. The HOA has the home rented, and it says I owe $13K in fees from the previous owner. What can I do? I assume the rent being collected goes toward the fees.

A: Florida law unfortunately allows a homeowners' association (...

Girl sitting on man's shoulders at immigration rally.

(Photo: Flickr/Gail Williams)

What U.S. residency rights apply to an L2 visa holder?

Q: If an L1 visa holder goes back to his home country (because visa expired in January 2013), can his dependent L2 holder stay in the USA, if she has EAD validity (until November 2014) and I-94 until September 2015?

A: If the principal L1 is no longer in the United States...

Young woman in her 20's with her arm around her mother.

(Photo: Flickr/Rochelle Hartman)

Taxes: How to tell if an adult qualifies as a 'dependent'

Q: I am trying to determine if I can claim my 20-year-old daughter as a dependent on my tax return. She was a student who lived at home during the whole year of 2012. I am not sure if she paid for more than half of her support for the year. She also made a $700 cash charitable...

Two-story brick house with now on the roof, icicles dangling from the gutters.

(Photo: Flickr/chrstphre)

How liable will my heirs be for my mortgage debt?

Q: Can I leave real estate that has an existing mortgage to my heirs? If so, what options do they have?

A: Yes, you can leave real estate with an existing mortgage. Your heirs would not be personally liable for the mortgage; but if it isn't paid, then the bank could...

Man looking at the few coins held in his palm.

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

Can my sibling's ruined credit affect my own?

January 30, 2013

Q: We are receiving credit collections calls for my estranged sister. Is there some way our credit can be affected by this? What responsibilities (if any) do we have? Apart from living with us for a brief time years ago, I have never co-signed any loans for her.

A: I...

Man's hand writing something on a legal document.

Best ways to find a lawyer with a successful record

January 18, 2013

Q: How can I check to see if my lawyer is successful?

A: While there are no official statistics or records kept anywhere, there are a couple of things you can do. First, see if they are listed in Martindale Hubbell, which are ratings of lawyers by their colleagues on both...

Timing a short sale and your tax return

Q: If I started the short sale of my home in 2012 but it closes in 2013, will I still be eligible for debt forgiveness under the 2007 extended law? Currently I am waiting on underwriters to approve the HUD document.

A: The key date for the purposes of the debt forgiveness...

Dice near the "income tax" space on a Monopoly game board.

(Photo: Flickr/Alan Cleaver)

Basic tax facts for sole-proprietor small businesses

Q: I am a very small independent photographer who made $1,500 over the past year. How do I pay taxes on that?

A: You could be considered self-employed as a sole proprietor. You could claim the income on Schedule C when you file your personal tax return. Any expenses...