California Legal Blog

Grocery store's decision to close causes real estate disputes

Does a California grocery store have a right to close its doors and cease doing business in a community if it so chooses? The answer may not be as cut and dry as one might think. Ongoing real estate disputes in one town are centered on the topic, and all involved are waiting on edge to see how the judge will rule.

As it stands, there is a particular plaza that was the center of an agreement where ordinances permitted the building of 10 houses. However, a stipulation in the agreement marking the project as a mixed development required that a grocery store would also exist in the building, providing services to the public. In fact, terms of the agreement specifically state that more than 20,000 square feet of the building is to be maintained as a grocery store for the duration of the project.

Harvey Weinstein admits his wrongdoing, leading to divorce

Former film studio executive Harvey Weinstein is currently going through a difficult family law situation to which some California readers may relate. The average individual does not have his or her marital problems plastered across news venues, however, which may Weinstein's situation a bit more challenging. As it stands, most people who follow Hollywood news are likely aware that Weinstein's wife of 10 years has decided to seek a divorce.

Some divorces occur without much surprise to either spouse. Issues may be simmering for years, slowly building up, until spouses mutually decide the best option for solution to their problems is divorce. In other situations, a particular incident or string of incidents may cause an abrupt and unexpected breakdown in a marriage. In either case, things may get a whole lot worse before they get better, especially if children are involved and parents disagree about where they should live or how they should be raised.

The Q-TIP trust: an option for second marriages

When people think of estate planning, they automatically think of the will. It’s known for its simplicity: a listing who gets what. Life, of course, isn’t that simple. There are infinite family arrangements. Anyone who has been married more than once or who has children with more than one mother/father knows how complicated arrangements become. Trusts are a more complex form of estate planning with benefits for modern families, including provisions for how your assets are distributed.

Hugh Hefner’s estate

What to do when parenting plans aren't working out as planned

Helping children adapt to a new lifestyle after their parents' divorce is often quite challenging in many ways. While there is information based on common experiences from families throughout California and the nation who have navigated the process in the past, a particular family's needs and goals are always unique; so, existing information can be helpful but may not fully resolve a specific problem that arises. When the court issues or approves new parenting plans, it may not work out as all involved expected, especially if one of the parents is not adhering to the court order.

Many divorced parents disagree over child custody, visitation and child support. If your relationship with your former spouse is amicable, you may have successfully negotiated an arrangement without much trouble. For some, discussing and making decisions regarding where children will live, how often they will see a noncustodial parent or whether child support should be paid may cause tempers to flare and situations to develop that delay court proceedings.

Old GM not happy with judge's business litigation decision

Not every California business owner faces financial challenges at high levels similar to JP Morgan Bank. However, a current business litigation situation between JP Morgan and Old GM (General Motors' predecessor) may be relevant to many business people currently trying to resolve loan payback issues. In this particular case, Old GM says they got the short end of the stick on a recent decision handed down in court.

The situation involves a $1.5 billion load JP Morgan made to Old GM some time ago. It seems Old GM's unsecured creditors have been attempting to recoup the money. Recently, however, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled in favor of JP Morgan, stating that assets in question were covered by a lien.

Reasons people fear the estate planning process

If you dislike talking about the fact that you're going to die someday, you are no different than many other California residents and others throughout the nation. Some people avoid discussions about their own mortality as much as possible. This hesitation often leads to procrastination toward or all-out avoidance of the estate planning process.

There are several reasons someone might shy away from executing an estate plan. Lack of knowledge regarding the process or difficulty understanding legal terminology is often high on the list of issues that cause people to keep estate plans on the back burner. In fact, some people die without ever setting a formal plan in place, thus leading to immense challenges and stressful situations for their loved ones when the time comes to administer their estates.

Community advocate says real estate disputes are finally over

A leader of San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation (SFBARF) recently commented on a heated debate that has made its way through the court system several times before finally being resolved. The spokeswoman said although the real estate disputes were unfortunate, it was worth it in the long-run because justice was served. In question during the lengthy process was whether a small business homebuilder should be able to build three new homes on a particular California street.

A judge hearing a closed session on a recent Monday ruled in favor of the project by directing the entry of a stipulated judgment that settled the case. The situation arose back in March 2016 when the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board approved a proposal to tear down an existing home and build three new ones in its place. Neighbors opposed the ruling, leading to several lawsuits and many hearings as both sides aired their differences in court.

Widow of 9/11 victim stresses the importance of wills

A woman in another state is the widow of a 9/11 victim. At the time of the terrorist attacks in 2001, she had three young children and recently shared her memories and the many lessons she learned in the aftermath of the national tragedy. A lesson she remembers most has to do with estate planning and, in particular, wills. It applies just as much to California residents as it does to others across the country.

At the time of the attacks, the young mother's children were ages 2, 4 and 6. Her husband was working in Tower Two and was one of the victims that day. As the widow tried to put the pieces of her life back together in the wake of her husband's death, she faced tremendous challenges where finances were concerned, exacerbated by the fact that her husband had not executed a will.

Fire in mansion leads to contentious business litigation

When a house burns down in California, owners may file an insurance claim. If an insurance company attempts to deny a particular claim, it may lead to business litigation, which is what has happened in another state. In this case, it was an entire mansion that burned, three years ago.

The owners of the mansion filed a lawsuit, claiming their insurance company failed to pay them $14 million to which they say they were entitled following the fire. The insurance company apparently disagrees with that assessment. It has filed a counter lawsuit, asserting that the couple misrepresented their situation during the investigation that took place after the disaster.

The face of California divorce is changing

In California, many people like to keep up with Hollywood news, such as details regarding the personal lives of their favorite movie stars. For instance, many readers have closely followed current divorce and child custody updates on Brad Pitt's and Angelina Jolie's situation. There's a different family law trend occurring simultaneously, however, that doesn't exclusively pertain to movies stars. It's known as gray divorce and is affecting the lives of many people over age 50.

What would prompt someone who has been married 40 years to seek divorce? That very question led to one woman writing an entire book on the topic. She was shocked and confused when her own father, age 70, said he planned to divorce her mother.

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