Legal Rights of Women Handbook

Cover of Legal Rights of Women in Vermont is a picture of State HouseThe goal of The Legal Rights of Women in Vermont handbook is to help you begin to understand your rights and responsibilities under Vermont and Federal Law.  Written in plain and simple language, this handbook has been a source of information for Vermont women, their families, and professionals that serve them since 1977.

This publication has been developed with legal assistance, but does not constitute legal opinion or advice.  Legal advice should come from an attorney of your choice who can take into account all the factors relevant to your particular situation.

NOTES:  Laws change.  At the end of each chapter, readers will find a date indicating the last time the chapter was reviewed and updated. Throughout this publication are references and links to  Vermont Commission on Women’s Resource Directory. The directory can help you locate the most local and appropriate resources related to the issue of concern. There are also links to other chapters in the handbook as well as links to look up and read the state and federal laws referred to at the close of each chapter.  (Reader tip: “12 V.S.A. § 5131. et. seq” means Title 12 of the Vermont statutes, section 5131 and following sections (section numbers are consecutive throughout the entire title).

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7th Edition Acknowledgements  (305 KB) 

Chapter 1: Adoption, Guardianship & Emancipated Minors  (128 KB)

Chapter 2: Consumer Protection & Fair Credit   (132 KB)

Chapter 3: Domestic Relations  (282 KB)

Chapter 4: Education  (100 KB)

Chapter 5: Employment Rights  (249 KB)

Chapter 6: Housing & Property Rights  (93 KB)

Chapter 7: Immigration  (140 KB)

Chapter 8: Insurance  (291 KB)

Chapter 9: Name & Gender Marker Changes (84 KB)

Chapter 10: Public Accommodations (90 KB)

Chapter 11: Public Assistance & Government Benefits  (145 KB)

Chapter 12: Reproductive Rights  (118 KB)

Chapter 13: Violence Against Women & Children  (326 KB)

Chapter 14: Wills, Probate Court, & Advanced Directives  (134 KB)   


Full Document: The Legal Rights of Women in Vermont  (NOTE: 202 pages | 1.35 MB)


Chapter 1: Adoption, Guardianship and Emancipated Minors  (128 KB)

Who Can Adopt
Who Can Be Adopted
Procedure for Adoption
Rights of People Who Have Been Adopted
Adoption of Stepchildren and Others
Guardianship of a Minor
Emancipation of a Minor

Chapter 2: Consumer Protection and Fair Credit   (132 KB)

Consumer Fraud Prevention and Recovery
   Identity Theft
   Contests and Prizes
   Sports Fantasy Games
   Gift Cards
   Paid Fundraising
   Home Heating Fuels
   New Car Lemon Law
   Home Improvement Fraud
   Three-Day Right-to-Cancel
   Discount Membership Programs
   Rent-To-Own Items
   Third-Party Telephone Billing
   Illegal Lending
Addressing Consumer Fraud
Credit Transactions
   Credit Discrimination
   Debt Collection Practices
   Credit Bureaus and Consumer Reporting Agencies

Chapter 3: Domestic Relations  (282 KB)

Civil Unions
Legal Separation
Establishing Parentage
Child Support
Child Support Enforcement
Enforcement of a Court Order
Changing or Modifying Court Orders
Separation of Unmarried Couples and Couples Not Joined by Civil Union
Child Snatching

Chapter 4: Education  (100 KB)

Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing and Bullying
No Child Left Behind Act
Students With Disabilities
Education of Pregnant and Parenting Students
Grants for Students Formerly in DCF Custody

Chapter 5: Employment Rights  (249 KB)

Flexible Working Arrangements
Parental, Medical, Earned Sick Leave, and Other Types of Work Leave
Workplace Health and Hygiene
Drug Testing
Unemployment Compensation
Workers’ Compensation
Discrimination and Harassment
     Sex or Gender Discrimination
     Questions Employers May Ask
     Pay Discrimination
     Sexual Harassment
     Pregnancy Discrimination
     Nursing Mothers
     Other Forms of Employment Discrimination
Reasonable Accommodation
Retaliation and Whistleblower Protection
Polygraph Protection
Labor Trafficking

Chapter 6: Housing and Property Rights  (93 KB)

Women’s Rights When Renting Or Buying A Home
Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords in Vermont
Mobile Home Park Residents’ Rights
Property Taxes
Property Rights in a Marriage/Civil Union
Property Rights of Unmarried Couples

Chapter 7: Immigration  (140 KB)

Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident
Removal (Deportation) Proceedings
Special Provisions for Battered Immigrants
Special Provisions for Victims of Human Trafficking
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Immigration and Benefits

Chapter 8: Insurance  (291 KB)

General Insurance Law
Life Insurance
Disability Insurance
Credit Insurance
Filing a Complaint
Health Insurance
Long-term Care Insurance
Health Insurance Consumer Help
Health Privacy

Chapter 9: Name & Gender Marker Changes  (84 KB)

Chapter 10: Public Accommodations  (90 KB)

Public Accommodations – Defined
Sex Discrimination
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Marital Status Discrimination
Disability Discrimination
Addressing Discrimination

Chapter 11: Public Assistance and Government Benefits   (145 KB)

Social Security
Supplementary Security Income (SSI)
Veterans Benefits
Reach Up
3SquaresVT (Formerly Food Stamps)
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Child Care Financial Assistance
Essential Person
General Assistance (GA)/Emergency Assistance (EA)
Emergency Housing
Fuel Assistance
Weatherization Assistance
Vermont Health Connect
Disability and Long-Term Care
Free and Low-Cost Medical/Dental Care
HIV Insurance Assistance
Lifeline Telecommunications Service Credit Program
Micro Business Development Program (MBDP)
Individual Development Account (IDA)
Denials, Reductions or Terminations of Governmental Benefits

Chapter 12: Reproductive Rights  (118 KB)

Birth Control

Chapter 13: Violence Against Women and Children  (326 KB)

Domestic Violence
Sexual Violence
Stalking Offenses
Safety for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Stalking
Child Abuse
Sexual Crimes Against Children
Human Trafficking
Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
Hate Crimes
Crime Victims Assistance, Notification and Compensation
Release of People Accused of a Violent Crime
Sex Offender Registry
Violent Career Criminals and Habitual Criminals
Civil Actions for Crimes Against Women and Children

Chapter 14: Wills, Probate Court, and Advanced Directives  (134 KB)

Not Having a Will
Other Forms of Property Distribution
Probate Division of the Vermont Superior Court
Advance Directives for Health Care
Authority and Obligations of an Advanced Directive Agent
Changing, Suspending or Revoking Your Advance Directive

Link to Vermont Commission on Women’s Resource Directory