The Legal FAQs of Everyday Life

Nolo's Encyclopedia of Everyday Law

Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Everything you ever wanted to know about the law, but couldn't afford to ask.

Turn to Nolo's Encyclopedia of Everyday Law for answers to everyday legal questions that come up in all aspects of life. Easily locate concise explanations about legal issues including:

  • credit, debt, and bankruptcy
  • divorce, child custody, and visitation
  • wills, living trusts, and estate planning

See below for a full product description.

  • Product Details
  • Written by Nolo’s expert team of attorneys, this book answers more than 1,000 of the most frequently asked questions about everyday legal issues, including:

    • Credit & debt
    • Workplace rights
    • Wills & trusts
    • Buying a house
    • Divorce
    • Small claims court
    • Domestic violence
    • Adoption
    • Traffic accidents
    • Inventions
    • Privacy rights
    • Child custody & support
    • Elder care
    • Bankruptcy
    • Noisy neighbors
    • Home businesses
    • Name changes
    • Searches & seizures
    • Tenant rights
    • Criminal law

    The 12th edition is completely updated to provide current and accurate information on all the legal subjects covered in the book. It also has a helpful glossary of legal terms and an appendix on how to do your own legal research.

    “Practical examples, explanations of legal principles, and useful tips…”—Library Journal

    “Think of this as the FAQs of legal life. Answers to these frequently asked questions draw from Nolo’s wide-ranging and widely respected legal library”—Dallas Morning News


    Number of Pages
  • About the Author
    • Editors of Nolo

      Nolo’s editorial department includes more than a dozen legal editors and a full-time legal researcher, who collectively have more than 100 years’ experience turning legal jargon into plain English. Most of our editors gave up careers as practicing lawyers in favor of furthering Nolo’s mission: Getting legal information into the hands of the people who really need it.

      All Nolo legal editors specialize in certain areas of the law, and many are recognized as national experts in their field. They write books, edit books by outside authors, and in their spare time write online articles and blogs, develop legal forms, and create the legal content of Nolo software.

  • Table of Contents
  • About Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law

    1. Houses

    • Buying a House
    • Selling Your House
    • Deeds

    2. Neighbors

    • Boundaries
    • Fences
    • Trees
    • Views
    • Noise

    3. Landlords and Tenants

    • Leases and Rental Agreements
    • Choosing Tenants and Choosing a Place to Live
    • Housing Discrimination
    • Rent and Security Deposits
    • Tenants’ Privacy Rights
    • Roommates, Sublets, and Airbnb
    • Repairs and Maintenance
    • Landlord Liability for Criminal Acts and Activities
    • Landlord Liability for Lead Poisoning
    • Landlord Liability for Exposure to Asbestos, Mold, and Bedbugs
    • Insurance
    • Resolving Disputes
    • Tenancy Terminations and Evictions

    4. Workplace Rights

    • Fair Pay and Time Off
    • Workplace Health and Safety
    • Workers’ Compensation
    • Discrimination
    • Harassment
    • Workplace Privacy
    • Losing Your Job

    5. Small Businesses

    • Before You Start a Small Business
    • Legal Structures for Small Businesses
    • Nonprofit Corporations
    • Small Business Taxes
    • Home-Based Businesses
    • Employers’ Rights & Responsibilities

    6. Patents

    • Qualifying for a Patent
    • Obtaining a Patent
    • Enforcing a Patent
    • Putting a Patent to Work
    • How Design Patents Differ From Copyrights and Trademarks

    7. Copyrights

    • Copyright Basics
    • Copyright Ownership
    • Copyright Protection
    • Copyright Registration and Enforcement

    8. Trademarks

    • Types of Trademarks
    • Trademark Protection
    • Using and Enforcing a Trademark
    • Conducting a Trademark Search
    • Registering a Trademark
    • How Trademarks Differ From Patents and Copyrights

    9. Your Money

    • Purchasing Goods and Services
    • Using Credit and Charge Cards
    • Using an ATM or Debit Card
    • Strategies for Repaying Debts, House Payments, and Student Loans
    • Dealing With the IRS
    • Debt Collections
    • Bankruptcy
    • Rebuilding Credit

    10. Cars and Driving

    • Buying a New Car
    • Leasing a Car
    • Buying a Used Car
    • Financing a Vehicle Purchase
    • Insuring Your Car
    • Your Driver’s License
    • Driving for Uber or Lyft
    • If You’re Stopped by the Police
    • Drunk Driving
    • Traffic Accidents

    11. Wills and Estate Planning

    • Wills
    • Probate
    • Executors
    • Avoiding Probate
    • Living Trusts
    • Estate and Gift Taxes
    • Funeral Planning and Other Final Arrangements
    • Body and Organ Donations

    12. Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney

    • Health Care Directives
    • Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances
    • Conservatorships

    13. Older Americans

    • Retirement Plans
    • Social Security
    • Medicare
    • Finding a Caregiver or Residential Care Facility

    14. Spouses and Partners

    • Living Together—Gay or Straight
    • Domestic Partnership and Civil Unions
    • Premarital Agreements
    • Marriage
    • Divorce
    • Domestic Violence
    • Changing Your Name

    15. Parents and Children

    • Adopting a Child
    • Stepparent Adoptions
    • Adoption Rights: Birth Parents, Grandparents, and Children
    • Child Custody and Visitation
    • Child Support
    • Guardianship of Children

    16. Courts and Mediation

    • Representing Yourself in Court
    • Small Claims Court
    • Mediation
    • Finding and Working With a Lawyer

    17. Criminal Law and Procedure

    • Criminal Law and Procedure: An Overview
    • If You Are Questioned by the Police
    • Searches and Seizures
    • Arrests and Interrogations
    • Bail
    • Getting a Lawyer



    • Legal Research
    • Learning About a Particular Area of Law
    • Finding a Specific Law
    • Finding Answers to Specific Legal Questions
    • Finding Legal Forms


  • Sample Chapter
  • About Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law

    Whether we like it or not, the law touches our personal lives in many ways each day. We might not think much about the laws that affect us as we carry out simple tasks such as driving a car, making a call, or shopping. But every now and again, we’re sure to need an answer to a common legal question that arises in the course of daily life:

    • What can I do about my noisy neighbor?
    • What are my rights if I’m fired from my job
    • Do I really need to make a will?
    • What should I do if I can’t pay the child support I owe?

    And so on.

    This book provides answers to frequently asked questions about hundreds of subjects you might encounter in your personal life—topics that range from buying a house to getting a divorce, from paying your debts to starting and running a small business. Obviously, we can’t answer every question on a particular subject, but we’ve answered many common ones to get you started.

    Throughout each chapter, you’ll find resources for additional information, including websites that will help you learn more about a specific area of the law, find the answer to your legal question, connect you with a government or community agency, or lead you to the form you need to accomplish a specific legal task. And if you need to go further, and read the text of a specific law or court case, the appendix in this book explains how to do basic legal research online or at the library.

    Think of this book as a desk reference—a little encyclopedia that explains what the law really means in a language you can understand. But remember that the law changes constantly, as legislatures pass new statutes and courts hand down their rulings. We will publish new, revised editions of this book periodically, but it will never be perfectly current. It’s always your responsibility to be sure a law is up to date before you rely on it. Check for legal updates on our website at for the most current legal information affecting Nolo books and software.