Sunday, May 27, 2007

Free family law guide from California State Bar Association

State Bar releases guide for parents
Alden, Philip. San Mateo Daily Journal, May 22, 2007.

For some parents their introduction to the law and their children happens because junior gets into a little trouble with the local authorities. Children make mistakes and the law takes such things into account, and there are some very good lawyers out there to help when such things happen.

But there is a much more complex interplay between kids and law enforcement, and unless you happen to be a lawyer, you may not know much about this interplay. Even some lawyers know very little about the criminal justice system. It’s like asking a podiatrist to perform open-heart surgery, (no insult intended to all the hard-working podiatrists out there). People specialize nowadays and nobody knows all aspects of the law, (or medicine for that matter).

Fortunately, the California State Bar Association has provided a handy (and free) guide to help not only parents, but everyone navigate the potentially treacherous waters that are kids and the law.

To order your free copy of the guide, or multiple copies, send an e-mail to and they will gladly send you as many copies of this handy guide you may need.

The guide is good for both adults and children to read, so both groups understand their responsibilities and rights under California state law. The State Bar Association is eager to have teachers as well as parents order, read and distribute this guide to their kids.

It’s easy to read and covers things like; gangs, parents’ rights, smoking, graffiti, working, truancy, school rules, driving, juvenile court and online predators.

There are many interesting topics covered in the guide, such as “The Age Of Majority,” which is a term to describe when the law no longer views a person as a “child.” This spells out when a person is old enough to; enter into binding contracts, buy, sell or hold property including real estate and stock, marry without the consent of a parent or guardian, sue or be sued in civil court, make or revoke a will, inherit property, vote, and even join the military without parental consent.

The guide also covers bikes, skateboards, scooters, cars and traffic laws — and how they relate to our kids. It covers alcohol laws and even has a section entitled; “Laws that young drivers should know.”

It also covers child abuse and neglect, drug laws, criminal conduct, curfew laws, guns, and computers and the Internet.

Because this guide is produced from a grant and by The State Bar Association both kids and parents can be assured of its accuracy. It lays things out in a very straightforward manner, with easy to read text. I read the entire guide and found it helpful, informative and definitely educational. I learned some things about kids and the law I never knew, and I’ve spent most of my life around lawyers.

This guide will help parents protect their kids, kids protect themselves and adults that interact with children understand how this pivotal area of the law works. I highly recommend it as required reading for all Californians, regardless of their age.

Once again, the guide is available simply by requesting copies via e-mail: or by contacting the State Bar Association at: 180 Howard St., San Francisco, 94105.

Tax-deductible donations to the California State Bar Association are always appreciated, but not required for copies of the guide.