It’s not easy being a parent, especially since you also have to deal with a ton of laws relating to you and your children. Since legal issues crop up in the most unexpected places, here are some tips to keep in mind. You never know when one of these nuggets will be just what you needed to know.
- Children have free speech in school. Many schools these days are trying to clamp down on what children do and how they express themselves. If your child has strong beliefs on a subject, she may want to wear a T-shirt or other apparel in support of that cause. Generally speaking, schools cannot prohibit this. Since the government forces children to attend school, it cannot simultaneously strip free speech rights in the schoolhouse. That would violate the First Amendment. If your child wants to express themselves at school, use the law to stand behind him.
- Don’t forget those tax deductions! April 15 has come and gone for 2008, but now is the time to properly plan for next year’s taxes. Fortunately, there are several tax deductions centered around children. You can deduct medical expenses for them, just like you would for yourself. And be sure to keep track of mileage to appointments. That can really add up! And the Child Tax Credit can reduce your tax liability by $1,000 for each qualifying child.
- Nanny cams pose legal dilemmas. It’s your responsibility to make sure your children are protected at all times, but a nanny cam might bring about legal quandaries. The International Nanny Association has an entire page about nanny cams. You should consider whether or not you tell the nanny about the camera. Also, if you tape conversations without at least one party’s consent, you might be breaking electronic surveillance laws.
- Keep your will up-to-date. If you have children, please execute a will. You may think that the law will take care of everything without a written will, but you might be shocked at what can happen. A will is also needed to designate guardians for your children, especially if you and your spouse both pass on. Even if you executed a will at one point, make sure it’s current. You shouldn’t need to update it with each new child, but you should make sure it still accurately reflects your wishes.
- Always get parental consent. As a parent, you’ll likely have many interactions with other people’s children. You always need to make sure that the parents do consent to whatever the child wants. It can be a crime to transport a child somewhere if the parents don’t consent, even if the child does consent. It makes logical sense, but we don’t always consider the possible criminal consequences to our actions.