Richard Alderman's archive

Q. I would like to know who owns the apartment complex where I live. The property manager says it is none of my business. How can I get the name and address of the owner?

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With this ring ...

Q. I am separated and in the process of getting a divorce. I have been living with a man as his common law wife for almost two years. Is there anything special I need to do to have our marriage recognized?

A. As I have said many times before, the legal affect of a common law marriage is no different than any other marriage. To have a common law marriage you must agree to be married, live together as married and hold yourself out as married. Once you meet the requirements to establish a common law marriage, you are married. There is no need to do anything else.

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Q. Due to the heavy rain in recent weeks, one of my healthy oak trees fell over onto the driveway of our neighbor, damaging his two vehicles parked in the driveway. Am I liable for the repair costs to his cars?

A. If the trees were healthy and blew over as an act of God, you have no liability. For you to be liable, it is necessary to show that you were “negligent” in caring for your trees, and that negligence is why they fell. You are not legally responsible simply because you are the owner of the property and the trees.

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flooded car

Q. My friend is trying to sell his flooded vehicle. The buyer offered around $16,000, which is about the right price if it was not flooded. The event of flooding has yet to make it to AutoCheck, which is why the price is near what it is worth in very good condition. What are the repercussions of selling this vehicle and not saying it was in a flood?

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Richard Alderman

Q. My daughter-in-law received a ticket last year for lack of auto insurance and paid the $250 fine. She thought it was paid in full, but recently she received another bill for $250. When she asked about this bill, she was told that she has to pay the $250 “surcharge” for three years. Is this true? Please explain the lack of insurance fine and its duration.

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