Sunday, 30 December 2012

Homeowners Still Wait to Receive Funds from Foreclosure Settlement

California was one of several states included in a multi-billion-dollar federal foreclosure settlement, to help homeowners struggling with foreclosure.  However, even 2 years after the disbursement of much of the settlement, the program is still struggling to make sure that homeowners receive the funds.
The federal settlement totaled $7.6 billion, and involved 5 of the largest mortgage lenders as part of a settlement through the Hardest Hit program.  The program was one of several that were initiated by the administration to combat the rising tide of foreclosures. 
Out of the $7.6 billion that was committed, about $900 million had been given to homeowners by November, and another $620 million had been committed to the 18 states that were part of the program. A time period of until 2017 was given to spend the money.  Different states received different amounts, and California received one of the largest amounts.  The state received close to $2 billion, and is believed to have distributed more than $200 million.
California was on top of the priority list, because the state had suffered severely with high foreclosure rates and plummeting house prices.  As California foreclosure lawyers saw, the foreclosure crisis in the state was dire, and necessitated expansive measures.  However, the speed of the disbursement of money to homeowners has been slow.  
Several states, including California, are now changing the program to make it quicker and more responsive to homeowners.  Initially, the state required loan servicers to match reductions in principal made by the program, but the idea received very little response from servicers.  Currently, California provides up to $100,000 in reduction of principal for homeowners eligible under the program, with no match from servicers.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Senior Divorce Rates on the Rise

The number of older couples finding their way to a San Jose divorce lawyer has been increasing.  According to new statistics from a study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University, divorce rates involving adults above the age of 50, doubled between 1990 and 2010.
The study of senior divorces found that the divorce rate for senior citizens was 2.5 times higher for those who were in their 2nd marriages, compared to first marriages.  Now that baby boomers are entering their 60s, it is likely that we may see an increase in the number of divorce rates, as people who have remarried find their marriages crumbling.
The reason why divorce rates are increasing in the above-50 category is the fact that people are now living much longer than they did a few decades ago.  That means that more seniors are asking themselves whether they want to live in unhappy, or less than satisfying, marriages with the same spouses that they married many years ago. 
Financial independence also seems to be a key reason why so many older women choose divorce as an option, compared to just a few decades back.  Women are more economically independent than their mothers and grandmothers were, and have the financial ability to take care of themselves.
Besides, in the case of couples who are above 50 years of age, the children are grown up, and may not really be an issue to worry about.  This is unlike in the case of younger couples, who may decide to stay together purely for the sake of the children.
Among other findings in the study was the fact that the United States now has the highest divorce rate in the world.  About 45% of marriages in the United States are now expected to end with a trip to a divorce lawyer. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Determining Pet Custody during Your Divorce

In a horrific case reported recently, a man allegedly slit his pet dog's throat, and texted the gory image to his estranged wife.  The couple was engaged in a bitter custody battle over the dog.
The crime came to light when police were called to a home where they found the dog with its throat sliced.  The dog, an American Staffordshire terrier called Rufus, was the subject of a custody fight between the man and his wife. 
The man insists that his wife killed the dog in order to deny him custody of the pet.  He's also reportedly unwilling to cooperate in the investigation.  However, police have determined through text messages, voice mails and other pieces of evidence that it was the man who committed this horrific act.
No one expects every couple that is battling over custody of their dog to go to these insane lengths.  However, this incident does underscore how important pets are to American families, and how bitter the fight over their custody during a divorce can be.
Any SanJose family lawyer would have one single piece of advice to give a couple in the middle of a divorce and fighting over custody of their pet.  It is best that you decide this matter among yourselves, and not drag in an impartial, emotionally uninvolved 3rd party into it. 
A family court will treat your pet as just another piece of property that must be divided between the 2 of you.  However, you may not see your pet as a piece of property, and may be emotionally invested in the animal.
If you brought the pet into the marriage, then the pet is typically yours to keep.  Besides, if you are the one taking care of the pet, like feeding it, and so on, then it makes much more sense that the pet remain with you.  A family court may also probably decide in your favor.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Nevada Teen Accident Death Rate Higher Than the National Rate

Between 2008 and 2011, the teenage driver accident fatality rate in Nevada was 14.4 deaths per hundred thousand drivers, compared to a national rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 drivers.  A new ranking of all 50 states and the District of Colombia places Nevada at number 33 in these fatality rates.
No Nevada car accident attorney would doubt that those statistics can be improved on.  Statistics show that states that have very stringent licensing programs for teen drivers do a much better job of keeping teenage drivers safe.  A solid graduated driver’s licensing program should include restrictions on driving at night.  The restrictions should preferably be between 10 PM and 6 AM.  However, many states have their restrictions extending between midnight and 6 AM.  In the state of Nevada, there are no nighttime driving restrictions for teenage drivers in the intermediate stage.
A graduated licensing program must also include limitations on the number of teenage passengers in the car of a teen motorist. The federal administration also recommends at least 50 hours of supervised driving before a full license.
Lack of experience is the single biggest factor affecting a teenager’s risk of being involved in an accident.  These drivers also tend to be more aggressive, and are more susceptible to peer pressure, marking them out for a higher risk of accidents.  Teenagers are more impulsive, and are prone to rash driving decisions that can increase the risks of being involved in a crash. 
Other problems that affect the general motorist population like drunk driving and distracted driving are amplified in the motorist population.  This group of drivers is at a higher risk of texting while driving and driving under the influence.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Spike in Sexual Harassment Complaints against Women

Women are breaking the glass ceiling in more ways than one.  As more of them successfully step up to managerial positions, California sexual harassment lawyers are finding more women linked to lawsuits that accuse them of sexual harassment.
The topic of sexual harassment initiated by women in the workplace recently burst into the national headlines, after it was revealed that 2 separate lawsuits had been filed by federal agents against the Department of Homeland Security.  The lawsuits allege that the Department of Homeland Security has a “frat-house” type of workplace environment, in which female supervisors harass male employees. 
The harassment takes place in a number of ways.  Female supervisors, according to the lawsuit, play games that are designed to humiliate male employees, and embarrass them.  Male employees are passed over when it’s time for promotions.  Interestingly enough, there have been several sexual harassment claims targeting the Department of Homeland Security since Janet Napolitano took office as agency chief.
None of those lawsuits have been found to have any merit.  However, they seem to reflect a nationwide trend in which more males are now coming forward to file sexual harassment lawsuits.  Those lawsuits do not name only women, and are targeted at both male and female superiors. 
In fact, sexual harassment lawsuits filed by males have nearly doubled in proportion over the past 20 years.  According to the Equal EmploymentOpportunity Commission, these complaints now constitute approximately 16% of all complaints.
A couple of recent cases gathered nationwide attention.  In 2011, eyewear company LensCrafters settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by an employee, by paying him more than $192,000.  That lawsuit alleged that the employee was harassed by female superiors, who frequently physically and verbally assaulted him.  Recently, Regal Cinemas also settled another lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by a crotch-grabbing female superior.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

San Diego News Report - Housing in 2012 and Beyond

The San Diego Union Tribune Real Estate section of the online paper is organized very well. In addition to the recent report from UCLA  that outlines a forecast of Real Estate and the Economy,  once can easily see other stories about the San Diego housing and real estate situation. Some interesting headlines:
  • Foreclosures are down 51% from one year ago
  • Short sales are up 18% from last year
  • Average rents are up 2.5% from last year
  • Vacancy rate is lowest since 2008

These numbers show growth in the housing sector, more sales, less bank foreclosures. Indeed, Home Loan Companies are busy, with  loans for San Diego home buyers and refinancers taking advantage of low rates. Investors, first time buyers, and people refinancing under government programs as well as under traditional products are busy making financial moves. Although Location, Location, Location, is often a common mantra, timing is a big factor right now. The current uptick could be the slow beginning of the next rise, first starting with home prices stabilizing, while rates are low, then as prices rise, rates would may also rise, to keep things in check. Acting now could be a favorable in the long run.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Social Media at the Center of Local Services Search

Many reports suggest that the power of social media is eroding common advertising methods. But it is safe to say common advertising has had a major change over the last decade. Print, such as the phone book, has dwindled as the internet (search engines) has become the norm. With social media sites allowing fast interaction among members, people are turning to querying fellow members of their social network instead of the search engines. But, make no mistake - the website is still relevant.

Today's website must incorporate social media - reviews and links - to show that it is an active, trusted brand. A great example is Conejo Valley's Thousand Oaks Electric.  The site integrates many factors, with links to Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, a dedicated Testimonials page, and even a news pages about Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, and Thousand Oaks events. Having a good looking site, with a clean layout, relevant content, and trusted social media links allows users to better understand what they are "buying" into. Without those factors, even very good referrals from social media friends may not be enough to start the cycle with a phone call or email.