restraining order
An order from a court directing one person not to do something, such as make contact with another person, enter the family home or remove a child from the state. Restraining orders are typically issued in cases in which spousal abuse or stalking is feared -- or has occurred -- in an attempt to ensure the victim's safety. Restraining orders are also commonly issued to cool down ugly disputes between neighbors.
restraint on alienation
A provision in a deed or will that attempts to restrict ownership of the property -- for example, selling your house to your daughter with the provision that it never be sold to anyone outside the family. These provisions are generally unenforceable.
A fee paid in advance to a lawyer to secure her services. It acts as a down payment, ensuring that the lawyer won't get stiffed and that the client will be represented.
retirement benefits
Under the Social Security system, an amount of money available to those who reach age 62 -- equivalent to a small percentage of worklife earnings. For a single person first claiming retirement benefits in 1997, the average monthly benefit was about $750; $1,250 for a couple. A single person with a high earnings record claiming retirement benefits in 1997 at age 65 would receive about $1,250 per month; $1,800 for a couple. These benefits increase yearly with the cost of living -- and the amount is higher the longer a person waits to claim the benefit, up to age 70.
A term used to describe a hard-nosed judge, inflexible in the application of the law.
right of representation
See per stirpes.
right of survivorship
The right of a surviving joint tenant to take ownership of a deceased joint tenant's share of the property. See joint tenancy.
right to cancel (a contract)
See cooling-off rules.
A delayed tax that allows you to apply the profit you make selling your old house to pay for the new one without paying capital gains taxes on the profit. In order to rollover the profits, the new house must be more expensive than the old and the two sales must occur within two years of each other.
rule against perpetuities
An exceedingly complex legal doctrine that limits the amount of time that property can be controlled after death by a person's instructions in a will. For example, a person would not be allowed to leave property to her husband for his life, then to her children for their lives, then to her grandchildren. The gift would potentially go to the grandchildren at a point too remote in time.
rule of doubt
The rule under which the U.S. Copyright Office allows object code to be deposited in connection with a computer program registration. The rule of doubt means there is an express understanding that doubt exists as to whether the code qualifies for copyright protection should litigation later occur. In essence, the U.S. Copyright Office is saying, "We will let you deposit object code, but since we can't read or understand it, we won't commit ourselves as to its copyrightability." If the registration is accomplished under the rule of doubt, the copyright owner may be unable to claim the presumption of ownership -- an important benefit of registration -- should the issue end up in court because of an alleged copyright infringement.
Any decision a judge makes during the course of a lawsuit.
running with the land
A phrase used in property law to describe a right or duty that remains with a piece of property no matter who owns it. For example, the duty to allow a public beach access path across waterfront property would most likely pass from one owner of the property to the next.