Cost Effective Law Enforcement Aerial Patrol

While many of our law enforcement officers will make a major stand in regards to flying helicopters and the versatility of the helicopter, for many law enforcement agencies there are far more cost effective options available to perform many of the same mission roles as a helicopter.

Starting with the helicopter it does offer vertical takeoff and decent as well as hover capability. Hover capability is vital for performing officer insertion or extraction in confined areas where landing is not normally practical. Hover capability is also critical for life rescue work.

We now enter into an area that may turn a few heads. How often and how needed are these capabilities for your particular organization? Larger cities or metropolitan areas may in fact need all of the capabilities of a helicopter and may have the need even for a large helicopter for proper tactical deployment of personnel and or equipment. Now if an analytical approach to bang for the buck is applied to a majority of law enforcement missions, the actual number of times per year that these capabilities were utilized are most likely very low. For many cities not willing or by the private service of EMS helicopter operators, or the services of the Coast Guard, many EMS missions are not even covered by law enforcement agencies.

Large cities and metro departments can even benefit from a slightly mixed fleet of affordable aircraft and more expensive helicopters. With smaller cheaper aircraft to perform normal patrols and surveillance with the more mission – enhanced aircraft providing the special mission services it can offer.

Many law enforcement agencies not only in the United States but also across the world have made some very significant purchases in regards to new helicopters in the past few years. Aircraft such as the Eurocopter B2 and B3’s as well as Bell 206 L4 and 407 helicopters. Agencies have been replacing older aircraft with high component and or high airframe times with newer aircraft with more performance and the ability to safely carry the many mission support tools needed for airborne law enforcement.

Agencies have been able to find ways to procure new aircraft but very often the maintenance and repair area after the initial purchase is overlooked. Right along with this oversight is the increased operational costs and possible increase in insurance costs associated with the new purchase. A typical scenario seen across the industry is when an aircraft enters a major inspection is that the money needed to repair or replace the inspection items is often not available or was not budgeted for in the maintenance operating budget. This can be an administrative short-sight, an agency with a fixed maintenance budget, inaccurate information on DOC’s (Direct Operating Costs) as the area in which you operate may have more atmospheric contaminates to cause corrosion that were not taken into account at the time of purchase. Another possibility can be the hours that were actually flown exceeded the planned hours for the budget, this brings those time life items to an earlier calendar time than previously planned.

Now where to get approval for the unplanned expenses or if planned and the actual costs are higher than estimated? Since the budgets are tight many agencies have had to keep aircraft grounded until such time that funds are allocated, and the aircraft components repaired to get the aircraft back in the air. Consequently, have had some aircraft become the dreaded hanger queen for months while awaiting funding. This not only makes the unit less efficient but also sets the stage for the same scenario for the following year as other aircraft now bear the burden of additional flight hours from the previously mentioned grounded ship now carrying its fair share of the flight hour program.

The unit supervisor may be suddenly faced with some rather humbling data to provide the supervising police staff or civilian officials in regards to budget.

Operationally, there are some options available, be it for a small town or the large law enforcement unit. A quick look at actual mission roles and calls will normally reveal that calls responded to only required an aircraft to have slow circular flight capability and that hover capability was in fact not needed. A check with your pilots will also reveal a safety reason for doing orbits rather than hover. Hovering burns more fuel, the pilot is also in a vulnerable position in regards to performance (high torque, high EGT, or other operational parameters), and it is also a very vulnerable position if the engine or some other component decides to fail at this critical time.

For helicopters to effectively enter into an autorotative state there has to be enough potential energy available to become a successful maneuver. The pilot requires two things to perform this critical skill, altitude and or forward speed. Forward speed and altitude are the sources of our potential energy which induce the rotational forces needed to safely perform autorotation. Since most police work is performed at low altitude the safe pilot will keep the aircraft moving forward in the event that an autorotation should have to be performed.

A gyroplane is in a constant state of autorotation and in the event to make an emergency landing, the pilot simply maintains airspeed to sustain autorotation and perform the landing approach to touchdown.

Options that make a lot of sense from a budget point of view are, helicopters that can be operated for patrol use at a far cheaper rate than our mission specialized aircraft. This does not necessarily mean the aircraft is not capable of many of the same missions. Since the growth of the UAV market, many systems used for these aircraft are the same systems required for law enforcement use. These systems have become quite lightweight and compact in size. Another option is to use another aircraft that is still a rotorcraft but can operate far more efficiently than the helicopter in many of the same mission roles- the gyroplane. I would like to direct your attention to what Ken Wallis has performed in both testing and actual missions roles with his gyroplanes. Pilots may frown on this move but they are your pilots and expected to fly as your pilots. Naturally training will be required but their job is to fly. The same holds true for the mechanics that may raise a fit about working on a small gyroplane. It is the ability to perform the mission that is their responsibility and management’s responsibility to the community to provide effective law enforcement capability but it shouldn’t come at too great of a burden to the taxpayer.

With these thoughts in mind as well as privatized law enforcement roles for gyroplanes Groen Brothers has recently released their newest gyroplane model. The Sparrowhawk III is designed for the use in homeland security roles, private law enforcement / security as well a normal law enforcement roles. The affectivity of light gyroplanes was been validated time and again from Ken Wallis and his use of specialized equipment to perform cadaver searches to port surveys for Saudi Arabia. Not too long ago the German government entered into testing of gyroplanes in a law enforcement role but not much feedback to the rest of the law enforcement community has surfaced from these tests.

If there is any indication of the value of the operational advantages of the gyroplane as simple look at the Sikorsky demonstrator and test vehicle X-2, a coaxial hybrid with a large pusher propeller located at the tail. For pilots and mechanic that simply are not informed of the aircraft type resistance to change can be accepted. Once they understand that the probable future of law enforcement aviation is most likely going to be an aircraft of similar design as the X-2, then the benefits of gyroplane technology will come to be appreciated.

Sticker shock of continuing maintenance costs after the initial purchase of a helicopter has left many agencies and local governments shaking their heads at the high costs they most likely never thought they would encounter. There are economical options; helicopters operations in most agencies began with small simple reciprocating powered helicopters. The purchase of former military helicopters showed the potential of turbine powered law enforcement helicopters but the added budgetary costs of newer aircraft and the tightening of local government purse strings has even lead to the loss of some law enforcement airborne units all-together. I am sure that any of those pilots would rather be flying and performing their law enforcement role than to be grounded or without a job. The modern gyroplane is no tinker toy and for any that approach the aircraft with as much of an attitude they will quickly get themselves into trouble. Like any other aircraft it does have operational parameters for safe flight and only flies like a gyroplane, not like an airplane and not like a helicopter, it is its’ own unique form of aerial transportation.

The gyroplane also provides as good of an observation platform as any helicopter and much of the associated vibrations found with helicopters is not as pronounced in gyroplanes putting less vibration on fragile equipment such as radios and navigation equipment. This means lighter equipment can replace bulkier equipment.

In regards to the dreaded airworthiness directives that can quickly down a fleet of helicopters the combined use of gyroplanes can still keep a unit effective and performing law enforcement aerial duties at a fraction of the cost. Inclusive to gyroplane maintenance costs is they typically have far fewer time life components to replace, inspect or overhaul further reducing the operational dollars needed to support the unit’s mission. Fuel being of concern of late can also be brought under a manageable budget with many aircraft using premium auto fuel in place of expensive Avgas or jet fuel.

So before a unit decides it can no longer provide the needed support to ground officers or provide valuable service to the community by closing the hanger doors. The unit may want to explore the possibilities of using a platform that quite simply provides more bang for the buck than the helicopter to perform many of the same missions.

The Rule of Law

One of the most fundamental requirements of a civil society is the rule of law which means that the people must follow the law of the land irrespective of his or her status or position in the society. In the modern world, the developed countries feel proud that their society is governed by the rule of law while most developing countries like India feel ashamed that their society does not have the rule of law. The developed countries are the role model for the underdeveloped countries, where the rule of law is still a distant dream.

Societies that follow rule of law are often considered more civilized as there is much more order in the society. Every thing in such societies appears to be in order. The roads are clean, lawns and parks are well-maintained, government officials work in office, trains and public transports run on time. Further, there is virtually no corruption in public offices. People are well paid, deliver better efficiencies and keep everything neat and clean. These societies appear perfect to the people of other parts of the world, who often wonder why they can’t be like them.

All societies need laws for their existence. Even though the laws may be different in each society, yet there are some basic principles that are common to all laws of the world. These fundamental principles are equality, fraternity, justice and liberty. The Indian constitution, for example, incorporates these goals in the preamble to the constitution which seeks to secure for all its citizens justice, liberty, equality and to promote among them the spirit of fraternity.

These principles are so universal in nature that they find place in every civilized society of the world. It is matter of great surprise that in reality the outcome of the rule of law is just the opposite. The more civilized a society is, the more is the inequality among its population – more injustice to the have-nots, less liberty due to strict enforcement of law and more hatred among the citizens based on race, caste and religion. What goes wrong in the implementation in the so-called rule of law?

Law of Nature

Indian thinkers in the Vedic period, i.e. around 3000 years before the birth of Christ, discovered that the universe does not perform its functions at random but follows certain laws. These were called “Rita” or the universal laws or principles that guided the universe. The progress of man can be largely attributed in understanding these basic principles of nature and exploiting them for the benefit of the human race at the cost of the rest of the creations. The laws of man, therefore, run contrary to the laws of nature as they are human-centric and not designed for all the creations of God or Nature.

One of the basic differences between man-made-laws and the laws of Nature is that the laws of nature are spontaneous as they require no effort in implementation. For example, in a natural piece of earth like a forest, the earth produces trees, plants, fruits and vegetables spontaneously without any need of watering or breeding. The nature itself provides timely rain and fertilizer to the new plants. The forests and the mountains are covered with greenery and beauty, which is purely natural since it comes without any effort.

On the contrary, the man-made creations like parks, trees, plants are artificially made. They too may look as beautiful as the natural ones, yet they cannot survive without regular effort on the part of man. Imagine a park, which is not maintained for a few months, or a house not cleaned for months. It will lose all its beauty and soon be filled with dust and weeds. No building or modern gadget can survive without external effort from man. However, all natural creations are able to survive on their own and maintain their existence; and enjoy their life without any external support.

The laws of nature are just as they treat every specie (and not only man) with equality. In a jungle, every specie gets its due share of food, air and water which enable them to live a dignified life without being dependent on any other creation. Nature makes no distinction between one specie, and the other as all species are the children of the same God.

However, in the man’s world, every other creature is killed if it is not useful for man. They can survive only if they can be useful for man. Thus man’s world does not treat any other creature of the nature with respect and does not provide them any right of equality, liberty, justice or fraternity. He cleverly usurps this universal law and makes it applicable only for human beings. For all other lesser species, he has created a man-made-law, calling it ‘the law of jungle’ or ‘the survival of the fittest’ which justifies his domination over the weak creations. The fact, on the contrary, is that the laws of jungle are far more just and equal for all species than the man-made-law.

Most men are not concerned about the way they treat the lesser animals as they feel that ‘the survival of the fittest’ theory is more logical than the laws of nature. However, they forget that every principle created in the universe has to be applied on them also and that they may not always be a beneficiary. Man-made-laws do not stop with animals but they soon spread their wings to encompass human beings, too. This is where conflicts between man and man starts that gives rise to hatred and wars. Man feels the pinch when the law of jungle is applied against them and the law of nature is denied to him. He is hurt when he is treated like weeds by the society.

Weeds: The Undesirable Plants of Nature?

One of the most interesting creations of the natural world is weed. Weeds are undesirable vegetation in the kingdom of plants. Weeds are defined as any plant that is not valued by the human society and usually tends to overgrow or compete with valued flora. Weeds are the plants which are considered by human beings as unattractive, undesirable, or troublesome.

In the natural world, man has to continuously fight against weeds to make their artificial plants survive. Weeds grow automatically and if the artificial gardens do not have the support of man, it is soon overpowered by weeds and the whole field or garden becomes full of weeds. Weeds are created by Nature (God) as no human effort is required to grow them. They are, however, so powerful that man has to continuously guard his creation from these weeds, lest all creation of the civilized society is destroyed. Weeds are as undesirable to man in the world of plants as criminals in the human society.

Criminals: The Necessary Evil for the Civil Society

Similar to weeds in the natural world, there is a growth of criminals in civilized societies. Who these criminals are? Why do they grow? Whether the criminals are healthy people or are they mentally ill as often thought by the civilized world?

Criminals are defined as the people who commit crime. Crime is defined as an act that is a violation of the criminal law that is punishable by law. Crime is usually considered an evil act and criminals are often seen as evil created by Devil, out there to destroy the civilized citizens, the children of God.

There are many similarities between criminals and weeds. Criminals grow automatically in every society and the society has to work hard to weed out these criminals. Criminals like weeds are so powerful and competitive that they have the power to defeat the civilized people. They are, therefore, fought jointly by the society. Yet in every society, there is crime and there are criminals. We are used to look criminals as evil that is unnecessary just like weeds. Yet if God (Nature) is the creator of all, then everything in this world must have been created with a purpose. “What could be the purpose of creation of criminals?” We wonder.

Criminals are, as a matter of fact, creation of the civilized world. In an uncivilized world, there would be no law, so there can be no violation of law and hence, no criminal. If we wish to understand the utility of criminals in the civilized world, we must imagine the world of nature without weeds. In such a world, all plants will have to be grown by man with artificial watering – canals, tube-wells, and other irrigation systems used for agriculture. In all certainty, man will grow only such crops and plants that are useful to man and the rest of the species would surely not survive in the man’s world. Further, man’s energy is limited and with all his effort, he can hardly take care of a minuscule part of the world by artificial plantation, so the rest of the physical world would be without plants and so without oxygen and other animal life and Eco-system. This will soon lead to the end of the world including the human being.

The role of criminals is similar to the role of the weeds. Imagine a world without crime i.e. everyone follows the law of the land without questioning. It will only provide status quo in the world. Kings will always be kings and only their children or loved ones can become kings. Poor will always be poor. Kings will frame more inhuman laws that would give them more powers. The less fortunate people would die out of hunger and poverty as they won’t break the law and the state will have no obligation to feed them. Thus the world without criminals would be a place where people will die due to inaction, boredom and cruelty. Such an ideal world, indeed, would be the most inhuman and most undesirable to mankind.

Thankfully, people called criminals automatically grow in every civil society as soon as man creates laws to govern it. The laws of man are always challenged by them since they are mostly against the laws of nature i.e. equality, justice, liberty and fraternity. States always have to face opposition from such people who break the law and are known as criminals. They may have an ugly appearance as weeds but they only provide oxygen to the society for its life. Thus in posterity, people recognize them not as criminals but as heroes.

The Path of Heroism

While man hates criminals, he worships the heroes. He can lay his most valuable possession i.e. his life on a single call from his hero. Who are these heroes? Are they law-abiding civilized people or the law-defying criminals? Take the example of Mahatma Gandhi in the modern world. He was perhaps the biggest criminal in the time of the British rule in India and he was jailed many times on charges of being waging war against the state. He spent more than 15 years in jail for his various crimes. Yet the people of India call him ‘Father of the Nation’ and love him more than any civilized person on the earth. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail, yet he is a national hero not only for South Africa but for the entire world.

In history, we can find numerous examples of great people who have broken the law and having been punished for their criminal acts. The list includes people like Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Socrates and Galileo. Yet it is these people who changed the history of the world and they are rightly worshiped as heroes by the masses even after their death.

How many people you have ever known who have become heroes without breaking the law and committing crimes in their time? Perhaps none. Heroes are created not by following the law but by breaking the law.

Rule of Divine Law

It is not always good to follow the law blindly as it provides order and rule of law in the society but kills the humanity as the implementation of most of the man-made laws are against the natural laws. Man-made laws are often disguised under the cover of natural laws like equality, justice, liberty and fraternity yet they serve just the opposite purpose. Most people see the letter of the law but fail to grasp its spirit. One must understand that breaking man-made laws is one of the fundamental requirements of all civil societies, if it contradicts the natural or divine laws. Thus every person who breaks the law need not be a criminal. One must go deeper into the facts before declaring a law-breaker to be a criminal. The key distinction perhaps would be to see if he is breaking the law for the interest of the humanity or for his own selfish end. Is it need-based or greed-based? There lies the distinction between good and evil, between a true criminal and a hero. One who is breaking a law for others or to fight injustice is a hero and not a criminal. A poet said “Jo lade din ke khet, Sura toi” (One who fights for the weak is the real hero).

The Value of Law in Our Lives and Society

It is known by all that law is an essential part of a society. It helps to make a society trouble free and peaceful. Law is made by humans in order to change the society with the introduction of equality, justice, and fairness.

Man has made laws, so being a maker we must follow laws too. Government and courts have set these laws and they are applicable for every citizen of a country. Victims are protected by law, whereas criminals are punished by it. You must obey law to avoid its consequences.

Law is very important for a society, for not only maintaining peace but also to control systematic lives of the people. Law protects a society from anarchy, chaos and disorder. Criminal actions like trespassing, rape, steal, damage, bully, murder and terrorism are controlled by the Law. This saves the society from every criminal act.

Disasters can be caused if people live in a society and start doing things according to their wills and principles. The Law helps to prevent people from doing actions what they want. A mentality of taking revenge will be created among the masses which may turn into unlawful acts. A society will be full of illegal actions, crimes and murders, if there is no law. Rules help a society to consider even a small problem to avoid its bigger consequences in the future.

A simple waste disposal may kill many people, if not prevented now. Cleanliness will not be maintained by people, if there is no such rule. People will find their own ways of living and survival, if they are not bound by laws. A war zone can be created in the world. Laws not only maintain peace in the society but also help to run the human race without any disturbance and in proper order.

A good relationship with each other in a society is regulated by a system of laws. Conflicts are also settled down by the means of law. The respect for human rights is ensured by this procedure of rules and laws. A society can function efficiently and properly only because of the presence of laws. Crimes are being stopped to become an everyday happening with the help of laws, so that children do not grow up finding the crimes to be normal. Future generations of the human race are safe and protected because of strict orders and laws.

So, laws are not only important in the society, but also in human lives.

8 Different Ways Different States Treat Divorce

You’re thinking about divorce – maybe you need to give some thought to where you live. Divorce laws differ widely from state to state. Here are 8 examples that will show you just how different divorce laws can be.

  1. Want To Get Out Of Paying Alimony? Well, if your spouse has been unfaithful, you want to be living in Georgia. Georgia law allows adultery as a bar to paying alimony. Make your case and alimony will not be awarded.
  2. Want To Get Even? Let’s get back to that unfaithful scenario. In 7 states you can still sue a homewrecker for “alienation of affection” if another person has stolen your spouse from you. New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and South Dakota are where you want to be if you want to sue. In some of those states, the name is “criminal conversation”.
  3. Want A Fast Divorce? You may think that Nevada is the state for a quickie divorce. Think again. In New Hampshire you can be divorced in a single day. You both just cross the border and stay in New Hampshire – that’s taking up residence. There’s no minimum processing time or minimum residency requirement. You can “move” to New Hampshire on Wednesday and file on Thursday and be divorced.
  4. Not So Fast? Then try Vermont. In Vermont, you have to have been residents for at least a year. You must undergo a six-month separation, living apart during that time. Meet those requirements and the judge will grant the divorce. But, wait! It’s not final for another three-months!
  5. Find Fault In Idaho. If your spouse is a boozer and you’ve had enough. You can file for a fault divorce on the grounds of habitual intemperance.
  6. Murder She Wrote – Or He Wrote. If you want grounds for a fault divorce in Tennessee, you just have to show that your spouse has tried to murder you “by poison or any other means showing malice.” Yikes!
  7. She Has A Headache Or He’s Not In The Mood. And, that can be ground for a fault divorce in North Dakota where “persistent refusal to have reasonable matrimonial intercourse” lets you file for a fault divorce.
  8. Still Seeing Each Other? In Delaware, a divorcing couple can continue to live together, but they must be in separate bedrooms. However, sex is allowed if it I an effort “to achieve reconciliation”.

You can see how different divorce laws can be – and that’s one reason why you want an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. You want an expert divorce attorney who understand the laws in your state and can help you make the right decisions within those boundaries.

Law Enforcement Training

Law enforcement serves and protects citizens and maintains the peace and order in a given area. Within law enforcement, there are many other sub-branches. Substantial training is required in order to become an effective law enforcement official. Each branch of law enforcement requires even more specific training.

Being an effective police officer requires not only physical and psychological wellness, but more importantly, discipline. Training in the police force can become quite harsh. The training includes shooting practice, simulations of real-life situations that require law enforcement intervention, and crime scene investigation education.

Whether you end up as a detective or a uniformed police officer, it is important that you know how to search for evidence or scenarios that are unusual or out of place. Being able to notice the right small detail could potentially solve the case you are handling. Training also teaches would-be policemen and policewomen these tactics.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) division, you should expect to undergo even more demanding training. You will not only need more physical training, but you will need to be familiarized with the weapons and strategies involved in a scenario that requires your services.

SWAT police usually have to work under intense pressure. As a result, they are trained both physically and psychologically to respond quickly and intelligently to life-threatening scenarios. SWAT also makes its officers undergo intense teamwork training. SWAT officers need to be able to work as one unit for their plans of attack to be effective.

Law Enforcement Degree – Why Going Online is Becoming SO Popular

Are you considering a law enforcement degree? Are you interested in becoming:

o Police officer
o Detective
o FBI Agent
o DEA Agent
o U.S. Marshal
o Department of Homeland security officer
o U.S. Secret Service agent

If any of these law enforcement careers seem interesting and sound like something you would like to pursue, consider a law enforcement degree as this will lead you one step closer to your perfect career.

Law Enforcement Degree Programs – What are they like?

As our world becomes more complex and technically advance, so is the demand on more highly trained individuals. As in any other career, law enforcement careers today require more and more education training from prospective applicants.

Most positions within this field require an associate’s degree, bachelor’s or even master’s degree, usually in criminal justice. Not only will a higher level of education, such as a bachelor, masters or doctorate degree, lead to greater salary but also to more job opportunities and career advancement choices.

Law enforcement degree programs will train you for a wide spectrum of skills, allowing for a wide range of career options. You will learn about the court and judicial system, police procedures and policies, prison systems, rehabilitation and control of prisoners.

Law Enforcement Courses/Curriculum

Aside from the study of law and the legal system, courses focus on accounting, business finance, computer science as well as physical education to promote fitness and performance on the job. Foreign language fluency is important for federal employment.

In a law enforcement training program you will be exposed to courses in criminal justice, police administration, police management, police organization, criminal law, criminal procedures, crime scene investigation, interviewing and interrogation, criminal counseling, juvenile delinquency, pubic safety – to name a few.

As you can see from the long list of courses offered, law enforcement is becoming a popular and fast growing field. As a result, colleges and universities offering training in this area are able to provide many courses to choose from. By exploring all your options within this degree program, you can pinpoint your strengths, areas of interest and design your ideal future career. You can do so much with a law enforcement degree – make sure you find out what works best for YOU.

Online Law Enforcement Degree Programs

Online education is on the raise so it’s not surprising that most online colleges and universities also offer law enforcement training. Online degree programs give you the freedom from attending regularly scheduled classes and allow you to go to school while working full time and managing a family. They are becoming very popular as they are a way to advance your career while keeping your current job. Many employers will pay their employees to go back to school, online.

There are so many online schools offering law enforcement online degree programs, how are you to choose one? The best approach is to select a few, request information and research, read about their programs and courses offered as well as class/degree requirements. Some schools offer complete online degree programs, others require some in class time. Find out all the details before signing on to a program, be it an online associate, bachelor or online master degree law enforcement program. When researching schools, in addition to program details, try to find out faculty qualifications as well as the percentage of students that graduate and find jobs upon graduation.

Law Enforcement Careers

The primary goal of all law enforcement professionals is to protect individuals within their jurisdiction. With this career you could work as a state or federal agent, police officers, inspector, sheriff or detective. There are many opportunities for specialization within this field and the list of job titles is extensive.

Police officers are usually employed at a local level and perform task such as traffic control, regular patrols, investigation of theft and assault as well as community policing.

Detectives and Investigators specialize in one area of crime and are assigned cases within that area. Their primary role is to collect evidence, conduct interviews, and examine records all leading to crime solution, arrest and prosecution.

Federal agents are employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and perform investigations of all types of crimes. The list of task and job opportunities is extensive. Spend some time reading and researching all the opportunities and educational requirements before choosing an area to specialize in within the law enforcement filed.

5 Things Divorcing Parents Should Know

When you had your child or children your life changed from being focused on yourself to suddenly having to consider how all your life choices would impact the kids. That is the way it should be. What is in the child’s best interest should always be a parent’s top priority especially when considering divorce. The first thing you should know is our adversarial legal system is not child focused or family friendly. The emotional and financial price you pay when you each hire separate divorce lawyers is higher than you can now imagine.

Before I became a divorce attorney I was a special education teacher. My Masters is in Special Education, focusing on teaching severely emotionally disturbed children, so I came to the law with a powerful bias to act only in the best interest of the children. The 2nd important fact to know is how comfortable so many divorce lawyers are in spending their client’s college fund instead of quickly and economically helping the couple to negotiate a fair deal. After 8 years of litigation and witnessing the total financial and emotional devastation of too many families I vowed to no longer take adversarial divorces and to do only divorce mediation. In the following 3 years, after working with over 150 couples with 100% success rate, I am convinced that divorce mediation should be the solution of first resort for 85% of the couples who are contemplating divorce. So the 3rd thing you need to know is there is an alternative to divorce court, mediation.

It is easier to deal with a situation when basic information is already known. In the 8 community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) property division is pretty clear. What ever was totally owned prior to marriage or received by gift or inheritance is separate property that goes to the spouse who owns it. If it was partially paid for using wages or income earned during the marriage, the “community” gains an interest in it that can be calculated. Division of property in community property states is one of the easiest issues to deal with because it is so clear cut. But what about the other 42 states? These states use an equitable distribution system to divide marital property. Each state has its own rules that can be ascertained prior to starting the divorce process. So there is some uncertainty in non community property states but an experienced lawyer/mediator generally knows what the court will do in most situations and can be a valuable guide to couples who are unfamiliar with the laws. The 4th thing to keep in mind is that there is no point in fighting over property division. You can protect your co-parenting relationship and end up with more property if you divide everything the way a neutral 3rd party (mediator) suggests.

In litigated divorce cases, child custody and visitation issues can be the most contentious and emotional. If the parents can agree to a custody arrangement, which they eventually do in 90% of custody cases, they can avoid court altogether. Why should a couple wait until they are on the courthouse steps to make a deal? Only 10% of custody cases are litigated. A couple could always seek the services of a child therapist to advise them instead of going to court. The courts typically apply a “best interest of the child” standard in determining who should get primary custody. Wouldn’t the parents themselves be in the best position to decide how their children should be raised? When a couple works together in mediation they are in control of the final outcome, not lawyers or judges. When the couple has an intention to effectively co-parent by always keeping the best interest of the child foremost in their mind, they will produce a much more satisfying outcome than if a solution is imposed upon them from above. Child custody issues are the most inappropriate issues to be decided within an adversarial system. The win/lose game that is played in court always results in tension between the parents. Not only will this tension negatively affect the health and happiness of the parents but the children will be caught in the middle of a battle, ducking verbal and emotional bullets as they fly over their heads. The adversarial system does not protect the co-parenting relationship of parents and should be avoided if at all possible. An emotionally vulnerable client in the hands of a “zealous advocate” who is more concerned with enriching themselves than in helping their client is a dangerous combination. The last thing to keep in mind is that avoiding divorce attorneys and court should be the #1 priority if you want to protect your health, spirit, co-parenting relationship and pocketbook.

What Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplains Have In Common With Law Enforcement Officers

Learning to understand the Law Enforcement culture and the unique pressures that officers experience day-to-day is an important part of being an Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplain. At first it may seem that the culture of Law Enforcement and that of Faith Communities have very little in common. However, members of the clergy may have more in common with Law Enforcement Officers than what is immediately obvious. These similarities provide the foundation upon which to build a relationship of understanding and trust.

“On” All The Time

Members of the clergy understand something of what it means to be on duty all the time. They could be out shopping in the produce section of a supermarket and find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a conversation with someone from their community about an important life issue. Members of the clergy can’t disengage with “I’m not on duty right now,” for doing so would likely go against their nature and possibly cause irreparable damage to their relationships in the community. Law enforcement officers have a similar “on” all the time experience of life and can’t easily step out of the problem solving role that members of the public may project on them. Family, friends and neighbors may also have difficulties in seeing an officer outside of his or her role. Being “on” all the time is a source of stress because it does not allow for the individual, outside of a professional role, to be experienced. When a chaplain understands this, it can help the chaplain be present for an officer without contributing to the demands already being placed on the officer. Being “On” all the time as a Law Enforcement Officer has an additional stress, that of sustained alertness for potential danger. Not being aware of this can cause a Chaplain to misinterpret the normal hyper alert behavior of an officer as being distant or unapproachable.

Tips

  • Don’t assume too casual or overly friendly demeanor when communicating with Law Enforcement Officers. Let officers set the tone and thereby let you know what is appropriate for your interactions.
  • Do be courteous, kind and professional.

Set Apart

Some clergy wear vestments that set them apart from the public and even those who do not wear any particular identifying clothing or symbol of their office can experience being set apart from society. This can be in the form of expectations that the public have of clergy: to have faultless personal lives and spotless behavior all the time, and to never deviate from an inhumane standard of perfection. Similarly, Law Enforcement Officers are seemingly under sustained scrutiny. Their badges, uniforms and weapons, make them stand out from a crowd that expects perfect politeness and faultless behavior. Sometimes the individual behind the uniform is lost in all the expectation. The pressure to show up perfectly can have the effect of dehumanizing a person and cause an ever-deepening rift between their on duty personality and who they really are. When a chaplain understands this about an officer, it can help the chaplain to be present for the person behind the uniform with patience, letting the officer lead with instructions, conversation and requests-and above all to have a strong capacity to listen to the officer with as little judgment as possible.

Tips

  • Avoid expressing personal opinions about matters of social conduct.
  • Do listen, frequently and carefully

Professional, Not Personal

Regardless of an officer’s opinion about local laws, private faith, political parties, or personal preferences regarding social trends, he or she has to apply the law with sustained professionalism toward everyone. Officers interact with people from every walk of life and way of thinking and believing and have to be able to function with fairness and equanimity in this diverse environment. An Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplain will no doubt have strong personal faith conviction and a deep spiritual practice. Regardless of the chaplain’s private faith, he or she will be serving officers and members of the public from every-and no-faith tradition; at no time is it appropriate to proselytize. An Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplain has to apply compassion and service with sustained professionalism toward everyone.

Tips

  • Don’t bring anything to the conversation that was not requested. Testimonies of faith, no matter what the tradition, must not be brought into the conversation with officers unless specifically requested.
  • Do be respectful of what officers want to talk about and follow their lead. Include in this the ability to respect an officer’s wish to talk about anything.

How To Become A Real Crime Scene Technician

The popularity of those true-crime and crime scene technician programs on television have not only attracted a large audience of loyal fans, but have also inspired thousands of students to enter criminal law, forensic sciences, and law enforcement schools, all in hopes of joining the ranks of forensic lab and field technicians across the country. Because the field is so varied, the training can literally come from a host of different sources, and will continue on past gaining the necessary degrees or certifications, so that they can readily keep up with the ever-changing technology.

The skills you will learn in school to become a crime scene investigator are so needed these days that any certification or degree will easily lead to a career that is much in demand. Law enforcement, legal practices and even the federal government have openings for dedicated forensics professionals from all walks of life, and education.

Where to Begin Your Crime Scene Technician Training

There are so many different ways to begin your training in forensic science. Enrolling in any technical school that offers classes in criminal justice is one way to begin. Attending an accredited college or university program is another. And, these days, you can even begin your job training online, at your own pace, allowing you to take care of your beginning classes, and formal training over whatever period of time you require.

Beginning with criminal justice training is the smartest way, as you will be learning everything that you will need to be part of law enforcement, the largest employers of technician anywhere. This type of background is essential to your formal training to work in the field gathering evidence, securing crime scenes and interviewing potential witnesses as part of your daily job description.

Career Education Requirements

Before you can get into the science of forensic technology itself, you should have a good knowledge of the physical sciences, chemistry, biology, math and anatomy physiology. Along with this course of study, outside of the technology itself, the best school to enter after the general courses are behind you, is the school of criminal justice.

Because most crime scene investigator and technician positions are actually filled within law enforcement, it is essential that any student planning on having this kind of specialized career study the first couple of years as if they were becoming a police officer in the field. In some jurisdictions, the CSI functions as operating police officers in emergency situations, so all of this training will come in handy, even if the television shows may tell you otherwise.

Criminal Justice Training

You can either attend an actual criminal justice school, or complete the necessary criminal justice courses online while you complete the technical and science requirements at a university. However you wish to do so the bulk of your criminal justice training should include as many of the following courses as you can complete for the full spectrum of training available:

Criminal Law
Crime Scene Evidence
Criminal Investigation
Crime Scene Photography
Evidence Collection
Evidence Analysis and Interpretation

The next set of courses only requires that you show a proficiency in, so that you can work with law enforcement agencies, while pursuing your main career:

Shooting
Defensive Tactics
First Aid
Fingerprinting, including applications, techniques and interpretation
Bloodstain Analysis
Forensic Photography
Footwear Identification Proficiency

Employment Outlook and Opportunities

There are a large number of crimes that occur unfortunately on a regular basis that will require the specialized expertise of a crime scene technician. Assaults, burglaries, rapes, kidnappings, suicides, vehicular crimes, and murder will all allow you to utilize every skill you have learned so that you can be an important part of the investigation team.

Job opportunities for professional technicians can be found in law enforcement, fire departments, pathology labs, hospitals, medical examiners offices, and even insurance and detective agencies. This means that the current outlook is very good, and the number of openings is expected to grow over the next few years, as the field expands.

The Basic Details About Law Enforcement Careers

The law enforcement is a wide field of career options, the Bureau of Statistics of the United States estimates that the field will keep on growing steadily until the year of 2018, and it will increase by 10% for law enforcement professionals. The usual career that requires 4-year degree course in the law enforcement is the Police Department as well as the Security Enforcement Agencies.

Investigators and detectives – they are acting for the review evidences, interview the witnesses and follow the leads for solving the crimes committed within their jurisdiction. In spite of the glamorous reputation, being a detective is not that easy. Hours of work are long, the nature of job is dangerous and the salary is usually low. Detective ranking is achieved through climbing the steps like the police forces.

Parole officers – they are the type of law enforcers who are working with the parolees report as they are being conditionally released from the prison. They have the backgrounds in administration or law enforcement and they should be knowledgeable with the basic-moderate of their computer skills. They have to be ready to testify against or favor to their parolees in the court proceeding if needed.

FBI and CIA – they are 2 of the best enforcement arms of the United States Government. Career seekers that obtain the security clearance can find stable employment within the government, and they can be at the secret service or even military police.

Prosecutor and Defense Attorneys – they can enter the field after they have completed the 3-year graduate level of the law schooling programs. As the degree of law enforcement is not being required for the law schools admission, they can still provide a competitive edge that are needed for earning an acceptance to any law school.

These potential experts must pass the background investigation that includes inquiries to their working history, financial history and criminal history. For those individuals who want to pursue their law enforcement degree must be prepared for the participation of several interviews with their choice of agency. They need to practice for answering the interview questions that are difficult.

This is a rewarding field that has many advantages for the ones who are choosing it as their career. Landscape of this career is augmenting everyday as the advancement of good opportunities are many.

Divorce Attorneys – Important Questions to Ask at Your First Meeting

When preparing to meet with a Family Law Attorney in Reno, it helps to be prepared. Just like at a doctor’s appointment, it is sometimes difficult to remember all the things that you need to convey to the doctor or what advice they have given you. By taking a few moments in advance to prepare yourself for the appointment, you are likely to have a more meaningful meeting with your Divorce Attorney.

For starters, list out any questions or concerns you would like to discuss with your Divorce Lawyer. Bring this list to the appointment to insure that you cover all your questions or concerns. In most cases, you are paying for this time and will want to make the most of that time and avoid having to call your Divorce Attorney with a question later. There is no such thing as a bad question for your Divorce Lawyer, so don’t be afraid to ask. The more you know about Nevada Family Law and your case, the better you will understand what is happening during your Divorce or Child Custody Case.

Bring any documents, evidence or other information that is relevant to your case to the appointment. This is particularly important if you have been served with documents or your case has been ongoing prior to hiring the attorney. This will allow your Divorce Attorney to review the ongoing case and access what is happening and if any deadlines are looming.

Be honest during your appointment. An attorney needs all the facts to evaluate your case and help you prepare for the legal process. Surprises in court or during the case can be devastating so knowing about them and being prepared to address them avoids the “surprise” in Court and before the Judge.

You should keep notes during the appointment. This will allow you to review them later in the event you cannot recall what was discussed. The notes should be put in a safe place to avoid being viewed by an opposing party or other individuals.

Many clients want to bring family or friends to their appointments with them. I discourage doing this as it wipes away the attorney-client privilege if a third party is in the meeting. To fully protect your attorney-client privilege, it is best to have your family/friends wait in the waiting room during your meeting.

During the appointment, if you don’t understand a term used or something that is told to you, it is OK to ask! I want my clients to fully understand their case, the legal process and how my office functions. You will take away some of the emotion and stress that comes from litigation by simply making sure you understand. So if you don’t understand, please ask.

If you are setting a consult or an appointment with my office, I look forward to meeting you. I hope you take the time to read this entry and come as prepared as possible to our meeting so that I can provide the best service to you.

Prenuptial Agreements – The Before Marriage Divorce Contract

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “pre-nup”, or “premarital agreement”, is an agreement made by couples planning to get married. The pre-nup governs how issues such as dividing marital assets, and alimony will be dealt with if the marriage should end in a divorce.

Without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorced couple’s property will be divided and any maintenance awarded in accordance with Nevada statutes and case law. Any couple looking to save themselves from the circus called, divorce court, should seriously consider a pre-nup. Such an agreement is especially important if one or both parties are on their second or subsequent marriage, if they have children from a previous marriage, or have significant personal assets which they do not want to be subject to the whims of a family court judge.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Divorce Court?

Yes, unless there are defects in their negotiation or content. Originally, most states would not enforce prenuptial agreements because they felt such agreements were “in derogation of marriage”, meaning the agreements work against the principle of married for life. However, in the early seventies, following other states, Nevada held prenuptial agreements to be generally enforceable in, Buettner v. Buettner, 1973. So your agreement will be enforceable if it is properly done.

Why Draft a Prenup?

The most important reason to draft a pre-nup is to save you time and money, if your marriage ends in divorce. By agreeing to terms now, when you love each other, the divorce tends to run simpler, when the bliss has worn off. With a prenuptial agreement you know how things are going to be divided. Giving you peace of mind and costing you drastically less money in divorce attorney fees.

Pre-nups are not romantic. Approaching the conversation is a buzz kill. Most couples find it difficult to discuss the ending of a marriage. You’re in love, and going to be married forever. Why would you need a divorce agreement? Because like life, divorce happens. You have less of a chance of finding your home on fire, and yet you buy home insurance. Signing a pre-nup is not dooming your marriage. Many couples feel siging a pre-nup solidifies each other’s marriage commitments.

What’s in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In 1989, Nevada adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act (UPAA), which can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes at Title 123A. Under the UPAA, parties to a prenuptial agreement are allowed to agree with regard to:

1. Rights of property which the parties already have or might acquire during the marriage;
2. Any rights to buy, sell, lease or mortgage such property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death of one of the parties;
4. Alimony; and
5. Any other rights and obligations of the parties which are allowed to be governed by private contract, i.e. are not governed by statute.

Separate property is the main focus of most prenuptial agreements. If you are coming into a marriage with real estate, retirement accounts, or cash, you might want to keep these assets separate from your community property. Community property is divided equally if a divorce happens. Separate property is not divided. A pre-nup often includes a waiver by both parties of any rights in property the other spouse acquired before the marriage. This is important if you who wish to preserve the assets they bring into a marriage.

Couples can also agree that property acquired by one partner after the marriage, which would ordinarily become community property, will remain the separate property of that spouse. For example, you might be halfway to earning a huge bonus, stock options, or maybe a future book deal. By agreeing these assets are to remain separate property you limit this argument in court.

A pre-nup may include language about limiting alimony (aka spousal support) in the case of a divorce. We are even seeing an increase in “fidelity clauses” being linked to spousal support. If a spouse has an affair the spousal support can be limited or increased, depending on your wishes. However, if the elimination or modification of alimony for a spouse results in that spouse needing public assistance, a court may disregard this portion of the agreement.

Two subjects of major concern to many couples contemplating marriage cannot be governed by prenuptial agreements: child custody and child support. By Nevada law, a court must decide these matters based on the standard of the best interests of the child and specific factors at the time of the decision. A premarital agreement signed before children are born would be unable to discuss the future factors. So, any private agreement between the parties on these subjects will not be binding.

When are Pre-Nups Not Enforced?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses. Like all contracts, in order to be binding, an agreement must be entered into by both parties knowingly and without any coercion, duress or fraud. Because of the closeness of the relationship between engaged persons, courts scrutinize prenuptial agreements especially closely.

First, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily. This means the agreement is not valid if one of the parties executed it under “duress,” a legal term meaning “pressure.” Agreements are often executed under some type of pressure; therefore, not every type of pressure will constitute duress.

While threats of physical violence or blackmail would clearly constitute duress, time between signing the agreement and the wedding date is the biggest culprit. Courts will void a pre-nup because the bride felt pressure to sign a pre-nup three days before the wedding. The typical cause being the emotional stress of having to cancel the wedding, and explain to hundreds of guests why the wedding was canceled. It’s not a gun to the head, but just as scary for some.

The threat of calling off the wedding is not always enough to be duress. Most courts reason that a party has a legal right to call off a wedding at any time. The courts look for other factors such as the unavailability of legal counsel for one spouse, or a one-sided agreement. For more examples of what constitutes duress, see “Voluntary Consent in Prenuptial Agreements”.

It is advisable for couples to allow plenty of time to negotiate and draft an agreement. To avoid the issue of duress being raised in the event of a divorce, couples should again allow several weeks, and even a month or so before the wedding date, for the process of negotiating and executing the agreement. Each side should also consult their own attorney.

Second, the agreement must be entered into “knowingly.” The UPAA requires that both parties be provided a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of the property and financial obligations of the other party. This means that income, real property, bank accounts, investments and all debts must be disclosed. This requirement underscores the advisability of allowing adequate time for consideration of the agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that where the husband failed to make the disclosures necessary to permit the wife to make an informed decision with respect to the premarital agreement, the agreement is invalid, Fick v. Fick, 1993. The court held that an incomplete list of the husband’s assets, given to the wife shortly before the wedding, and on the basis of which the wife signed the prenuptial agreement, did not constitute full disclosure.

Third, the agreement must be entered into without the presence of fraud. Fraud occurs when a party deliberately or negligently misleads the other party. Obviously, deliberately misstating or concealing one’s financial information would constitute fraud. However, as stated above prenuptial agreements are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than regular commercial contracts; courts require a high degree of honesty on the part of each party, called a fiduciary duty to the other party. Therefore, if the resulting agreement is excessively one-sided, courts will presume the existence of fraud, and, unless this presumption is rebutted in court, will invalidate the agreement.

In Sogg v. Nevada State Bank, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a premarital agreement would be presumed fraudulent where it left a wife with no resources or means of support in the event of a divorce, and where the wife probably would have received more under the community property laws of Nevada were it not for the premarital agreement.

The presumption may be overcome by a showing that the party claiming disadvantage was not in fact disadvantaged. Factors to consider include whether the disadvantaged party (1) had ample opportunity to obtain the advice of an independent attorney, (2) was not coerced into making a rash decision by circumstances, (3) had substantial business experience and acumen, and (4) was aware of the financial resources of the other party and understood the rights that were being forfeited.

The court in Sogg, held that where the premarital agreement was drafted by the husband’s attorney, the wife was never given an opportunity to obtain the assistance of her own counsel, was not given a copy of the agreement until the morning of the wedding, and the wife’s business experience was scanty. The court held that the presumption of fraud was not overcome, and the agreement was invalid.
Fair Pre-Nups

A contract is “unconscionable” if it is so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair. In some states, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld even if it is one-sided and is a bad bargain for one of the parties, as long as it is made voluntarily and with full disclosure by each party. However, the Nevada Supreme Court doesn’t lean this way. In the Fick case, the court took into account the results of the agreement. It invalidated the agreement partly because the agreement eliminated alimony for the wife, which she would have been entitled to, and gave the wife much less community property than she would have received under community property laws. This indicates that Nevada courts will look at the substantive outcome of an agreement in determining fairness and validity.

It is apparent the reasons prenuptial agreements will be rendered unenforceable tend to overlap. In practice, facts which indicate there was not adequate disclosure by a party or which indicate the presence of duress may also be used to find fraud, unconscionably, etc. The overall lesson for couples is therefore: allow sufficient time for negotiation; have separate divorce lawyers available for both parties, disclose all assets, financial information and anything else the other party might reasonably want to know, and to attempt to treat the other spouse as fairly possible.

Spotting Reliable Divorce Help Online

The Internet has definitely taken the world by storm. It has opened up new ways for communicating with others all over the globe and has given everyone the convenience of having information ready at their fingertips. One downside to this though is that with the influx of the information also comes the rise of unreliable information. Divorce is one of the topics most frequently looked up on the net and to those who are in need of some reliable divorce help online, here are some good tips to remember:

When it comes to getting information and divorce help, nothing beats the quickness of the Internet. Quick as it may be, it certainly also has its flaws. For one, with the numerous sites online which have articles that talk about a range of topics on divorce, it is unsure that all the divorce information are truly 100% based on facts.

Many of these websites have articles which can be read free of charge which makes them all the more popular for those who are thinking of getting a divorce but are on a budget. Thus being able to tell which is fact and which is fallacy is definitely a much needed skill.

You should always have a critical mind so that you can tell which the facts are. It is never a wrong thing to ask around or look into details more closely rather than following and believing readily what is written. Compare and contrast articles and see which sounds more believable to you and contains the most facts rather than ideas based on opinions. And whenever you read something, watch something or listen to something, keep an open mind but never forget to use common sense. Sometimes when we are too emotionally charged we forget to use our logic. For example, you search for “ways to brutally get back on your cheating husband” instead of just looking for softer and more practical self-help stuff. That’s when you create a whole new problem in the middle of this sticky situation.

It will also be a good move to look into the main contributors of the site. Look up on their credentials and see if they have enough legal knowledge and experience to be deemed experts in the field. Look for sites which have a reputable divorce attorney as one of their main contributors, if not all.

Always remember that different states also vary in the laws that govern divorce, so if looking for divorce help online, search for ones that specialize on divorce laws within your state or area. You wouldn’t want to be taking tips from a site which have facts based on Nevada laws when you live in California.

Spotting reliable divorce help online is just all about reading and using your critical thinking skills. Most of the time, wrong information can easily be detected if we learn to read and look into details more closely.

Divorce and Temporary Protection Order (TPO's)

A court has the power to issue a TPO (temporary protection order) to protect individuals from being harassed and stalked. In a divorce proceeding, the court may also grant a TPO to a spouse, husband or wife, if the spouse has been subject to instances of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is not simply defined by physical violence towards a spouse or child. It takes many different forms. In Nevada, the law provides that a court may issue a TPO on a current or former spouse if it finds evidence of:

Sexual violence
Child abuse
Harassment
Physical violence
Threats of physical violence
Coercion

There are several TPO’s that a court may issue. First, you can apply for an emergency protection order. This application must be made while your spouse is still in police custody after being arrested for a domestic violence incident and is effective for 7 days. A temporary protection order may also be requested regardless of whether there is an arrest and is effective for 30 days. Finally, you can apply for an extended protection order, which can last for up to one year. If you apply for an extended order, a hearing will be scheduled. Your spouse must be notified and has the right to attend the hearing. It is also absolutely necessary that you attend the hearing or the TPO will be dismissed.

A judge can rule on a number of issues when granting a TPO. Your spouse can be ordered to stay away from your home, place of work, or your child’s school or daycare, or any other relevant place. Your spouse can also be ordered not to contact you in the form of phone calls, through a third party such as friends or family, and email. Your spouse can be prevented from destroying your property, assaulting you or your children, and harassing you in any way. The judge may also order your spouse to leave the marital home, assign control of bank accounts and other items that you share, as well as temporary child custody.

Every situation is different and if you are unsure of whether you are entitled to a TPO you can contact the Family Violence Intervention Program located in the Clark County Family Court. Applications are free and advocates are there to assist you. They cannot provide legal advice, but they can help you with the application process.

A temporary protection order is designed to protect individuals from domestic violence before, during, and after a divorce and these matters are taken very seriously. The court will not tolerate false or exaggerated accusations of domestic violence in order to gain some sort of advantage in a divorce or custody battle. If you are in need of a TPO, or you have had a TPO wrongfully issued against you, it may be in your best interest to consult a Las Vegas divorce attorney experienced in these legal matters to protect you rights.

Understanding Federal Crimes

In the realm of law, crimes are considered to be within a jurisdiction. This means that the trials for certain crimes are the responsibility of certain areas of the country. At the most basic division, jurisdiction is broken into two levels: state level and federal level.

States usually have jurisdiction over most crimes that occur within that state. This may include murder, theft, trespassing, and other actions that break federal and state criminal laws. Some crimes are under both federal and state jurisdiction, meaning that the trials can be heard in state or federal courts.

Some particular crimes are considered federal offenses even though they occur in certain states. These crimes are considered crimes against the federal government and may include espionage, conspiracy against the government, illegal alien smuggling, and other crimes that threaten the federal government.

Other cases that may share joint jurisdiction as previously mentioned may become exclusively federal crimes depending on the magnitude of the crime. Examples of this include major cases of embezzling, bank fraud, and drug-related crimes.

In many cases, federal crimes are considered more severe than state crimes because they put more people in danger or affect a greater number of individuals. When an individual is convicted of a federal crime, he or she may serve time in a federal prison as opposed to a state jail.

Federal crimes often carry severe punishments, and individuals who commit them often see decades or even life in prison. These sentences may be in addition to severe fines that an individual is ordered to pay.

How Lawyers Can Market Themselves For Divorce Cases

Indianapolis is the fourteenth largest city in the United States. It has 829,718 residents according to the 2010 census. Over the past 10 years ending December 31, 2010 Indianapolis averaged 4705 new residents per year. Indianapolis reported 4844 divorce petitions filed in 2010, which represents an above average filing year and 2009 reported 5504, which was a significant increase over the average. It does not, however, rank among the top 50 divorce cities in the United States. The dubious distinction of being the divorce capital of the world belongs to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Many of the divorce petitions filed in Indianapolis are pro-se, which means that the person filing the petition is representing themselves. For the rest of the litigants who file or who are named as the respondent in these legal proceedings, they will be represented by a lawyer. Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys compete for the roughly 800 potential clients who file each month and they do so by print and electronic advertising. As the internet becomes a more popular venue for commerce, more and more lawyers and law firms are finding the internet to be a very dynamic venue in which to advertise their services. They employ a number of strategies to place themselves at the top of the heap, including paying major search engines for the right to be listed prominently at the top of the search pages. Since Google has the lion’s share of the internet market, this is the place where lawyers compete for position. At least those that know and understand the workings of the internet.

Despite this competition among divorce attorneys, and between all other attorneys for that matter, referrals from other clients and other lawyers remain the most common means of bringing new clients to the office. This may be due to the fact legal issues in general and divorce in particular tend to deal with highly personal and sensitive issues, and clients need to feel safe with the people who represent them. Finding lawyers that are known to their friends goes a long way to subdue any fears they might have about sharing their inner most thoughts with a complete stranger.

Many lawyers do not practice in this field, but virtually every full service law firm and even boutique law firms have at least one lawyer on staff who handle divorce and family law matters. There are very few attorneys who claim to practice exclusively in the family law arena, but there are a few. While this area of law is not highly technical or difficult, it does require a broad range of knowledge and it is not something a complete novice should tackle alone. There are simply too many pitfalls waiting for the inexperienced lawyer to stumble into as the case develops.

Law Enforcement Articles – The Need for Interview and Interrogation Training

At no time in our modern history have more demands been placed upon the law enforcement officer. Communities are extremely concerned about crime and they are demanding that law enforcement agencies “do something about it.”
It seems that every day, violent crime and drugs occupy the front page of every newspaper in America. Politicians at the local, state and national level like to give the impression of being “tough on crime” and espouse philosophies which, at least outwardly, seem to support that toughness.

At the same time, the public (via the media) is scrutinizing the actions of the law enforcement community more closely than ever before.

The public wants results and, more importantly, to feel safe. Yet, that same public will not tolerate any perceived abuses of suspects’ rights in the process.

Primarily due to the increased cost of incarceration, a concerted push is being made to release prisoners from jails and prisons, with the ensuing increase in probationers and parolees.

Probation/Parole Officers have increased caseloads with no end in sight.

Juvenile crime is sky-rocketing.

Younger, more fearless criminals are becoming the norm, with the media bringing sad tale after tale into our homes on a nightly basis.

When I speak to new recruits, I tell them that what the public wants in a police officer is simple: we want applicants that are warm, caring individuals who are capable of speaking to public groups; conducting demonstrations at schools; counseling troubled youth; rendering first aid; interacting with and assessing problems from a community perspective.

In addition to all of those admirable qualities, we want much more.

If a bad guy is trying to get into our home, we want an absolutely fearless gladiator who will willingly risk his/her very life to apprehend the suspect (without injury to the burglar, of course) and protect our property.

We want, expect and demand all of this for a salary that is far less than society pays a plumber!

Whether a person is a Probation/Parole Officer supervising 100 felons, a Police Officer in a patrol car, a Fish and Wildlife Officer working all alone 50 miles from any back-up, a military law enforcement officer or a Federal Agent working in a structured environment, being a law enforcement officer is an extraordinarily tough and complex job which demands that we apply all of our skills and training.

How has the law enforcement community dealt with the ever-increasingly need for interview training?

Poorly, I’m afraid. Here’s how it works…

In virtually every modern law enforcement agency, much care and consideration is given to the allocation of training, especially that training which requires both expenditures of time and money.

Traditionally, different segments of the agency (patrol, detectives, administration, etc.) have had to compete in a sense for their share of the almighty training dollar budget.

As a result, it is incumbent upon agency administrators to prioritize the available training money.

Training in most modern law enforcement agencies has taken on the semblance of a triage system at an emergency room. Administrators want to send everyone to training, so they end up throwing some money at those who are “bleeding” the most. Due to civil liability concerns, patrol officers mainly receive training emphasizing the motor skills areas (firearms, arrest techniques, emergency driving tactics, handgun retention skills, etc.), said areas presenting the most opportunity for misapplication and a resultant lawsuit.

Investigators receive training geared toward their primary areas of emphasis (interview & interrogation, crime scene investigation, investigative specialties, etc.).

Ironically, an objective analysis of the component parts of the job of patrol officer reveals interviewing skills are utilized far more often than any other skill. Think about it, what skill is used more often than the ability to talk with people and elicit information?

Conversely, what will get an officer in trouble with the public faster than an inability to communicate?

  • How many times in any officer’s life will he or she use deadly force?
  • How many times in any given month will he or she get into a vehicular pursuit?
  • How many instances of dealing with hazardous materials will crop up in an average month?

Contrast the frequency of these incidents against the absolute certainty that we will have to interact with people during each and every shift.

We routinely qualify in shooting, attend yearly hazardous materials safety courses, attend Emergency Vehicle Operations courses and the like, yet most patrol officers never attend formal interview and interrogation instruction after an initial exposure to it in the basic training academy.

Consider the following sober statistics:

o Police Training academies in the United States offer, on average, only 4 hours of training on interviewing techniques during Basic Training.

o 60% of law enforcement training academies in the U.S. don’t offer any interview training at all during Basic Training.

o Less than 20% of all law enforcement officers have received in-service training in interviewing techniques.

Unfortunately, in most law enforcement agencies, the investigators are repeatedly sent to interview and interrogation training, while the patrol officers who apply to attend are routinely turned down. In the bureaucratic effort to make training dollars stretch a long way, administrators often prioritize training requests, sometimes based upon outdated or inaccurate information.

The need exists for inexpensive, easy methods benefit police officers without regard to job assignment, all in an affordable manner.

Compounding the training problem is the current countrywide push toward “Community Policing” and all of the responsibilities inherent with that system. Simply put, Community Policing can be best described as a philosophy of empowerment that allows the beat officer to solve problems. By a collaborative effort with others in the community, police officers are responsible for actually resolving the community concerns, rather than just taking enforcement action.

While the philosophy sounds good, the average law enforcement patrol officer has not been given the tools with which to conduct investigations, interview people, make public presentations and achieve this collaboration to solve problems. Federal grant money has been spread across the country in an effort to promote Community Policing.

Officers have been hired, equipment has been purchased and public relations efforts have been extensive in this area. Unfortunately, officers that do not have the foundation of investigative training may find themselves in an uncomfortable position.

One Community Policing officer recently told me “If I had wanted to interview neighbors, show photo lineups, speak to public groups and work extensively with other public agencies, I would have been a detective. What happened to good, old-fashioned police work?”

One of the primary components of Community Policing is the ability to interact with people in a non-threatening manner which elicits maximum information.

Most basic training academies teach a block of instruction on “Interviewing and Interrogation.” However, these traditional systems stress the structured interview approach to interviewing. The new trainee soon realizes that he or she will conduct hundreds or thousands of street interviews while on patrol and will perform relatively few formal, structured interviews in an interrogation room setting.

There are some very fine formal “Interview and Interrogation” type training classes for law enforcement officers out there (being a polygraph examiner, I have attended quite a few of them), but they tend to emphasize the structured interrogation aspect of the situation and are geared more toward an investigator than a patrol officer.

Look for interview training that does not deal with just the structured interview/interrogation type setting. Again, an analysis of a patrol officer’s daily job reveals that the vast majority of contacts that he or she experiences are not in a structured setting conducive to a formalized method of interview and interrogation.

The Focused Interviewing system is not one based totally on theory, but rather upon practical application. These techniques are being successfully used daily, are very easy to learn and do not require reference texts to be carried in the field.

In this system, we will look at what is wrong (or at least ineffective) with typical street interview techniques, what led us to use techniques that don’t work, what does work and how to develop techniques that will dramatically increase our “confession” or “incriminating statement” rates in dealing with offenders and will be of great value in clarifying statements obtained from victims and witnesses.

Law Enforcement Information

Law enforcement are members of different agencies who are committed to upholding and enforcing the laws we live by. Some members work in local settings, while others work to enforce national laws. Often, the workers are a big component in punishing and convicting those who commit a crime. They work day-in and day-out to ensure that the streets are safe and the criminals are put behind bars.

There are generally two goals that law enforcement officials are seeking: prevention and enforcement. The first goal, prevention, can be particularly difficult. Officials must work extremely hard to prevent occurrences of crimes. For instance, police officers will regularly patrol an area in an attempt to keep crime from happening there. They make their presence known. In a way it is a message to criminals that lets them know they are being watched and criminal behavior will not be tolerated. The second goal, enforcement, can also be just as difficult. Officials have the unique assignment to punish people for committing a crime. They must assign a form of punishment that fits the crime. Not only that, but must also seek rehabilitation for the criminal whenever possible.

Today, law enforcement jobs can be found on all kinds of levels. For example, there are local police throughout the nation. They are there to protect the rights of citizens in specified jurisdictions. Then, there are states and federal law professionals. These professionals work to apprehend suspects after they find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for instance, is a federal agency. They have enforcement officials who work to enforce federal laws. Members of state and federal penal systems are also considered law enforcement officials. They manage different aspects of containment and punishment of criminals. Along with that, other law enforcement professionals include: probation officers, judges, and district attorneys.

Although law enforcement is a broad term, everyone working in it is working towards the same goal. They work to enforce laws, protect the people, and prevent crime. There are officials all over the world that are performing duties that range from trainee to advanced enforcement. Some might be investigators, while others are managers or directors. Despite their positions, they are still required to work within their jurisdictions, the rules of their job, and the law. Not only are citizens required to follow the law, but law enforcement officials must follow the rules too.

Outsourcing Law Enforcement Transcription

As long as law enforcement agencies have been dealing with recorded audio and video, there’s been a need for law enforcement transcription. Despite advancements in technology, those pieces of audio and video that are entered into evidence or as part of an investigation still need to be transcribed for reasons of documentation and clarity.

The responsibility for transcription has commonly fallen on the shoulders of those professionals that require the work; law enforcement agencies, attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, security companies, and others.

Unfortunately, over time the caseloads for law enforcement agencies have increased while there has been no increase (and sometimes a decrease) in personnel to manage the work and influx of forensic transcription.

Budget cuts have made it virtually impossible for many law enforcement agencies to bring on additional staff to assist with the translation and transcription, creating a nightmare of labor costs for many divisions.

Security Concerns

The possibility of outsourcing forensic transcription is one that is routinely discussed in many agencies, but many have reservations about utilizing outsourced services, particularly when delicate evidence in audio and video is concerned.

In the past many agencies were wary about sending out hardcopies of audio and video to be handled by a law enforcement transcription company when considering the potential of that content becoming “lost” or corrupted.

Likewise, the more hands an item passed through, the greater the chance of the material becoming damaged or leaked – especially to the media. These security concerns have encouraged a number of agencies to retain the transcription and translation work in house.

As technology has advanced however, new and far safer methods make it extremely simple to get the necessary content to a transcription service; Audio and video content can be uploaded to a secured server managed by the transcription service.

This secure upload makes it easy to monitor and maintain who has custody of the content because it passes easily from point A (the law enforcement agency that requires the transcription) to point B (the transcription service).

Reeling Budget Considerations

With the economical upset across the nation, many law enforcement agencies have suffered severe budget cuts that cost them both personnel and equipment. As such, it’s been extremely difficult for many of those agencies to justify paying an additional cost for outsourcing forensic transcription.

For many transcription services, it is common to charge by the line or by the page. Unfortunately it’s often very difficult to determine how many pages an interview will leave you with once it’s transcribed. There is another option that can make budgeting easier for law enforcement agencies, and that’s to opt for transcription services that charge by the minute.

That means if an agency needs transcription for a 46 minute interview – whether in audio or video format – then the agency is charged for 46 minutes.

The Real Benefit of Outsourcing Law Enforcement Transcription

The real problem facing law enforcement agencies, and any agency involved in the criminal justice system that is subject to strict budgets, is that in-house transcription takes up a tremendous amount of time and man power to complete.

Many agencies oppose outsourced transcription services because they fear the cost, as mentioned previously, but they don’t consider the actual cost of keeping that transcription in-house. Their intention is to save money by keeping transcription in-house but unfortunately that decision is costing some agencies a great deal of money.

*Salaries/Wages
Paid to those employees, secretaries, etc. who are required to transcribe the data – sometimes in the form of overtime depending on the case load.

*Management Expenses
Transcriptions typically need to be reviewed for accuracy and tracked to ensure that they are being completed in a timely manner. This can take time away from those in positions of authority within the department or agency.

*Cost of Information Technology
The cost of purchasing and maintaining software and hardware plus the training of employees and personnel to utilize the equipment for audio and video transcription

*Overflow and Delay Costs
There are inevitable times when delays occur which can pose significant problems to law enforcement cases where a deadline is concerned. Often the overflow and delayed material winds up in the hands of an outsourced company. Due to a looming deadline and thus a rapid turnaround requirement, the cost for such a service is often higher.

A Viable Alternative

Forensic and law enforcement transcription & translation outsourcing have become one of the primary ways that many agencies are finding budget relief. With skilled outsourcing to a service that employs trained forensic transcriptionists, law enforcement agencies gain a number of benefits:

*Reduced man hours of on-site personnel
*Elimination of the need to hire additional personnel to meet demands
*Improved quality of the transcribed content
*Reduced delays in transcription (rapid turnaround)

Outsourcing of forensic transcription means that far more agencies will be able to put their personnel where they belong – focusing on the agency’s primary responsibilities. With skilled outsourcing, law enforcement agencies, security companies, and so-on can trim costs because they are able to get transcripts completed on time, thus meeting the demand of an increased case load without the need to hire more staff or force current staff to burn the candle at both ends.

The new age of digital transcription via the web has given law enforcement agencies, public defenders offices, security companies, and others a means of maintaining the security of their data as it’s being passed off to trained forensic transcriptionists, and a rapid turnaround on those pressing cases that need to be handled quickly.

Dealing With Divorce

Everyone knows that Vegas is the place to be for any sort of celebration such as a bachelor or bachelor party or even just going out on the town for a weekend for fun. In some cases Vegas becomes a little hard to handle and some people can often lose what they originally came with. The next morning many things can be a surprise to you, including a new wedding band on your finger or a headache that is worse than ever. If you are waking up next to someone who you do not know and cannot remember and there is a signed document there you may need the assistance of a Las Vegas Divorce Attorney. A Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer can get both parties out of the issue without a very difficult trial of events.

There are many ways to ensure that big mistakes like these do not happen or are less likely to happen on your very fun trip planned for Las Vegas, Nevada. In Nevada there are many different rules than in some other states and sometimes it is important to make sure that you know what those are before you get there. Another good way to make sure that nothing goes too incredibly wrong is to go with a group of friends rather than alone. The chances are good that one person in your group will probably want to stay alert throughout the night making sure that everyone is okay. If you have that person you can guarantee that you will be a little safer.

A lot of people like to go to Vegas to let off steam and let loose and relax, but do not get too relaxed. Remember that your visit to Vegas is meant to be enjoyable. You should not feel like your mind has been erased when you are finally heading home. A good way to do this is to make sure that you are fully prepared for any sort of extra partying that you may not be ready for. Do not lose control of yourself because this can end in multiple bad decisions.]

Las Vegas is a city known for some crazy nights but you do not have to be a part of something that you do not want to. If you are not there to gamble and drink and party in the clubs, there are plenty of other things to do. There are several different relaxation resorts and spas as well as many shows and cool museums to look around in. If you are interested in shopping there is also a great social scene with lots of designer stores to get exactly what you want. The night scene may be a little too exciting for you, but that is totally okay.

Vegas changes a little from day to night and for some people Vegas is not all about gambling relentlessly and drinking until they pass out. If this is not for you, there are plenty of other fun things to do as well. The most important thing is to remember to have fun and enjoy.

Top 3 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Why should I use a travel agent to book my trip instead of booking it myself on the internet? This is a question I had to answer recently for a potential client with whom I was speaking to for the first time. As a travel professional, I get this type of question a lot.

In this article I will reveal to you how I answered this question and how you can benefit from using the services of a professional travel agent versus booking your own travel online using a travel search engine.

1. Save time.

Sure you can spend hours, days, even months researching destinations and going from website to website in order to plan your own travel itinerary, but why would you want to do that? Time is a precious commodity that we can never get back. While you are spending all this time doing research and going from website to website to see if you can get a better deal, you could have more easily picked up the phone to have a travel agent do this research for you.

Professional travel agents are trained to do this because it’s their job. A travel professional can do all the research, coordinate all the logistics, and put together a complete itinerary for your trip in a fraction of the time you can do it for yourself.

2. Use the agent’s knowledge and resources.

Travel agents are trained travel professionals. It’s their job to know the ins and outs of popular travel destinations. Although there is a ton of information on the internet readily available to the public, travel professionals have first-hand knowledge of many or most of the destinations you may choose to visit.

Secondly, travel professionals often have resources to inventory, special offers, and discounts available only to travel professionals to offer their clients. By using an agent, you’ll be able to take advantage of these resources.

3. The travel agent advocates for you should something go wrong on your trip.

Let’s say you have booked a flight and hotel online on one of the highly-advertised travel sites. Bingo! You’re all set. Or are you?

You check your confirmation and realize that you booked the wrong date. So you call customer service and you wait and wait; then finally you get a customer service representative who then tells you that there’s a fee to change your reservation. Okay so you pay the fee, after all you don’t have much of a choice.

The day comes for you to catch your flight. You get to your destination, but your luggage does not. The airline has lost one of your bags. So you’re stuck again with a problem, and call customer service again. You get to your hotel to rest from your long day, and find that your hotel room isn’t ready. Here you go again.

Now I’m not implying that a travel agent could have prevented all of this, but as a member of the travel industry, travel agents have special relationships with travel vendors. A complaint call or letter from a travel agent is more likely to get an expedited response than a letter from you, because of the agent’s relationship with the travel vendor.

I know what you’re thinking. You think that you’ll pay more to use a travel agent. It’s an incorrect assumption to think that using the services of a travel agent will be more expensive than booking your own travel online. Although some agents charge a service, the benefits of using a professional travel agent far outweigh the risks of not using an agent.

Accessories to Match Your Fashion Personality

Discovering which style not only goes with your personality, but also with your fashion sense is difficult for many women. Unless you are really confident in yourself or majored in fashion, choosing colors, clothing pieces, and accessories to complement you is a daunting task. Here are some ideas to help you in your pursuit of fashion.

First, what colors do you normally wear? Almost every woman has colors she naturally gravitates towards, whether it is slimming, classic black or neon lime. Knowing which colors you often wear can help you determine which colors you should choose for accessories and where you could branch out. There are four basic fashion types. You might be wholly one style or a mixture. That is part of the beauty of fashion; there really are no wrong answers.

Do you like pastels, pink, tangerine, baby blue, ivory, and cream? Then you are probably a romantic style. Nichole Kidman is one notable celebrity whose fashion sense is very romantic. Romantic personalities like hearts, lace, sparkles, and anything traditionally associated as “girly”. To add more romantic accessories to your closet, focus on simple gold pieces such as lockets, delicate scarves, lace gloves, and ruffled bags.

For those who prefer natural colors such as greens, browns, gray, beige, and similar shades, Meg Ryan is your inspiration. Casual and comfortable, this is called the natural style. Jewelry with stones or beads will probably be most appealing to you, and simple, practical handbags like a messenger bag will be your best friend. If you want to be more “adventurous” with your style, look for bags in colors such as squash mustard which will still match your color scheme while allowing you to look daring.

Audrey Hepburn’s style can only be called classic. Ageless pearls, structured black bags, and timeless red lips are all characteristics of a classic fashion style. If you fall into this category your closet will likely consist of timeless basic pieces in navy, gray, black, white, cream, and red.

Many women fall into the category of the brighter the better. Wild, bright colors, prints, and a willingness to try almost anything is typical of a bold style. Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga are two very different examples of this style. Purple and metallic accessories are perfect for you if your style falls into this category. Large is also part of your fashion statement. Big earrings, pendants, chunky bracelets, and oversized handbags are a great way to express your energy and enthusiasm for life.

2017's Trends In Home Furniture

Trends in furniture are always fluid and changing just like most other home decor trends. Each year, new and recycled designs, patterns, hues, and visual combinations are declared as the season’s hottest trends in home decor and interior design. Because of this fact, home staging is also impacted by recent trends in home decor as potential buyers are possibly looking for familiar elements or arrangements that they expect to see in contemporary homes.

While home staging is geared towards depersonalizing the house and making it as neutral as possible for as many possible clients as possible, it does benefit from the integration of current home furniture trends. A staged property that features intelligently-selected furniture items that reflect popular trends in home design will be able to go head-to-head with other listings that are also staged for contemporary home buyers. This is more of a priority for homes in general areas that younger residents are flocking to, or in urban, professional districts where apartments or condominiums are the usual types of dwellings.

The following furniture trends are making waves in 2017:

Creative patterns and designs in couches and chairs. For sofa couches and living room chairs, prints and designs have become quite popular once more, especially if set in white backgrounds such as walls. You can throw in some solid-colored accent chairs with a sofa set with design patterns to create a visual contrast.

Beds equipped with storage spaces. Modern bed designs combined with drawer boxes or under-bed storage spaces are trending again, with a great number of home buyers choosing to downsize from larger homes or opting for practical options.

Antique and handcrafted furniture combined with modern arrangements. Many contemporary home furniture designers and experts are experimenting with the meshing of old and new furniture pieces. Antique furniture pieces or handcrafted artsy items from different countries are now considered as popular accent or functional additions to furniture arrangements.

Consumers are staying away from big and overpriced furniture. Consumers are choosing to be practical and look for furniture pieces that are smaller but cost-efficient, particularly furniture that are functional without taking up too much space or costing an arm and a leg.

White is in style. White is back, especially as background color or for furniture finish. They are simple to arrange and combine with other colors of furniture items, and makes the area bright and airy.

People need home offices. Workplace trends are also shifting, making it more usual for people to work part-time or full-time from their residences. Desks, chairs, and workstations that combine function and comfort are particularly attractive to today’s homeowners.

Make a Statement With Stylish Home Furniture

Your home furniture plays a vital role in making your style statement. Decorating a perfect house starts with selecting good furniture. So if your first choice is not perfect, then the end result might not be as fulfilling as you want. If you want the furniture to have class and durability, then investing in stylish home furniture would be the best choice.

What you choose to furnish your home is a reflection of your personal taste. This makes it important for you to first be clear on how you want to decorate your home, what kind of furniture you want to buy and how you want to go about it. Furniture is available in different varieties for all kind of rooms. Be it for the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom or even the patio, furniture of different sizes are needed most of your basic needs. Whatever type of furniture you decide to purchase; it should emphasize the character and style of your house.

Stylish home furniture comes in various designs, size, shape, structure and materials such as wood and metal. Though wood furniture is generally accepted as the best, metal furniture can also be a good substitute if the budget is low. A living room is an area where you host most of your parties and entertain guest, thus a lot of attention should be given there. As first impression is the last one consider the kind of sofas, coffee tables, TV stands and cabinets, end tables and other decorative accessories very carefully. They should not only be attractive but comfortable but most importantly go well with each other and also be careful not to overcrowd the living room.

The dining area is another important corner of your house which the guests are likely to visit. The furniture for this area in particular should ooze elegance. The dining table set should not only be visually attractive but also comfortable. Many homes have their dining room and kitchen combined. In that case you will have to make sure that the kitchen and the dining area have a common theme. All the miscellaneous, serving tables and the dining table should fit in such a way that it allows you easy movement around the place.

The bedroom is for your personal space. It should be designed in such a way that you can shed the entire day’s tiredness in a minute and relax in peace. Especially your bed! As soon as you fall on it you should be able to experience heaven. That’s the reason why people spend heavily for luxurious beds because there is nothing better than a good night’s sleep. Apart from the bed your room also needs armories, dressers, night tables and some more storage furniture.

If you have kids around then you’ll have an additional room to be taken care of. Kid’s room furniture comes in attractive designs and styles. Apart from the indoors if you have a beautiful patio then get the chance to work with material like wicker and metal. Decorate it with benches, plant stands, love seats, coffee tables and anything which fits in well with the outdoor theme.

So now that you have many reasons to accentuate your house’s beauty from within and outside, bring home stylish modern furniture and enjoy all the extra attention.

What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler centrality and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are traveling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler centrist can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.

How to Maintain Your Gold Watch

If properly maintained, the appealing luster and tone of gold can endure the test of time and last forever. Gold neither goes out of fashion nor style. With the years, jewelers are going after gold for their designs and jewelry. The buyers and designers too have a never ending hunger for gold jewelry. It is simple understanding that gold is the softest metal and can easily tarnish, but it kept properly, it lasts an eternity. Due to this property, there has been an increased demand for gold watches.

To enhance on the durability of your gold watch, other metals are mixed during watch making. The metals used include silver and copper. You can still get a pure gold watch but at a higher price. The buoyancy of a gold watch is determined using its karat value, which ranges from 10 karats to 24 karats. The pure gold watches are superior when compared to watch made from other metals. Pure gold diamond watches are much more valuable as they constitute diamond and gold, which creates an explosive look.

To prevent your gold watch from getting dented or scratched, you must exercise some essential and special precautions. You must remember not to keep your watch against any other gem or ornament. The friction between the two will most likely result in a nicks and scratches. These watches are susceptible to scratching as they are usually put on over the wrist. Diamonds will deal any watches a bad one if kept together, this is because diamonds are very hard and often have sharp edges as a result of cutting. You should therefore find it of essence to store your watch separately, preferably in a cushioned pouch. You also should avoid instances that may lead to scratches, if a situation proves to be rough enough, you can take out your watch and carry it in your pocket instead.

There is nothing as harmful to watches as chemicals. To ensure your watch lasts a lifetime, make sure you keep it as far as possible from any chemicals. Chlorine in particular can quickly eat away on the structure of gold. It is therefore important to take out your watch when going for swimming or to hot tubs. Remove your watch before going for shower to avoid the soap residue, which contains a large amount of chlorine, from contacting your gold watch.

Cheap Loans – How To Reduce What They Cost You

With the rising commodity prices throughout the globe, everyone needs some kind of legal financing when they purchase something big like a home or a car. There are all kinds of financing options available in the UK. Only getting a loan that helps you meet your financial needs is not enough. You also need to save considerable amount of money on your loans so that you can repay them in simple affordable monthly payments. Getting a cheap and affordable loan in accordance with your financial affordability is not as simple as it may seem. Have a look at the ways in which you can easily secure loans at a cheap rate.

  • Make a comprehensive market research: Comparison shopping is the most important step that can help you save a lump sum amount of money. If you’re in the market for credit of any kind, stay sure that there will be hundreds of companies that are waiting for selling their financial products to you. Therefore, you need to take a step after considering the rates and charges offered by all lending companies. If you’re taking out a home loan or a debt consolidation loan, you need to make sure that you compare the services offered by various companies.
  • Check your credit rating: Today’s lending industry is entirely based on your credit score. As your credit report reflects your financial history, the lenders always check the score before lending you a new line of credit. A person with a good credits core will certainly secure a better rate than a person who has a poor credit score. Therefore, if you want to obtain loans at a cheap rate, make sure you repair your credit before applying for a loan. Order a free copy of your credit report and dispute all errors and negative listings so that you can boost your credit score.
  • Take the loan out for a short term: When taking a loan out it is important that you first calculate the monthly amount that you can afford to repay each month.  If you are armed with this information you are then able to reduce the term of the loan until the repayments meet what you can afford. Taking a loan out for a shorter term will make quite a big difference in the amount of interest that you are charged.
  • Look for bad credit lenders: If you have exhausted all the above mentioned options and have no other option left to secure a cheap loan for yourself, you can look for a bad credit lender. Bad credit lenders usually lend loans to people with bad credit and therefore they will give you a loan at a low rate. If you want to get a cheap loan, go and apply to a bad credit lender.

The entire process of getting cheap loans will become fuss-free if you follow the points mentioned above. Gain peace of mind while getting your loan so that you need not worry about the monthly loan obligations and lead a life free of financial burden.

Travel Insurance – How To Get The Best Value Travel Insurance

If you are an occasional traveler you’ll probably buy your insurance from the travel agent. But if you travel more than twice a year, it is much more cost effective to have one insurance lasting all year round, than buying one every time you travel.

Think ahead, plan ahead. Annual travel insurance easily pays for itself with just a couple of trips. But not all insurances are worth the same and as always cheapest is not necessarily the best. More on this later.

Annual travel insurance is not compulsory but it gives you the peace of mind case of illness and loss or damage to property and many other events. Where is the best place to buy annual travel insurance?

1. Your bank is probably the first place you’ll try. Banks have in recent times become highly competitive and in order to retain your business, may offer better rates. For example my bank has upgraded my checking account to a premium account and for that I pay $20 per month.

As a result I get several privileges including free, worldwide, comprehensive travel insurance. But here is the best part … I get all this free travel insurance not just for myself but also for any member of my family traveling with me including my parents and siblings.

I said free because I am already getting other benefits which are worth a lot more than $20 per month if I were to buy them individually. I also save a lot of time as I never have to look around for insurance. So don’t ignore your bank.

2. Credit card companies also offer similar insurances, with some added advantages. In case of theft or loss of your credit card, they will supply you with an emergency one, often within a few hours.

In addition to travel insurance offers, there is another advantage in checking your credit card company’s terms. If you book your travel using your credit card, pretty much all card companies give excellent cover against many of the things that can go wrong.

Some credit card companies also have specialist travel departments which not only give you travel discounts but also give you even better protection, i.e. better travel insurance and at a much lower cost. But note that all insurance offers exclude you making a claims, for the same item, to multiple sources even if you do have multiple insurance cover.

For example, let’s say you have bought travel insurance separately and you have bought your travel ticket using your credit card. If your luggage is lost, you can almost certainly make a claim to either of the two sources but not to both at the same time.

The reason is that the insurance companies have suffered massive fraud in recent years. Allowing multiple claims simply encourages fraudsters to have multiple insurances and make multiple false claims.

For example, they can take an already damaged suitcase on a long journey knowing that it will fall apart. They can then claim damage and loss of property from multiple insurers.

3. Insurance companies are a popular and obvious source for annual travel insurance. If you drive a car or have home insurance get a quote from your insurance company. Remember, because you are already a customer, your car insurance often entitles you to a very good discount.

Here’s a tip: if they don’t give you a competitive insurance, tell them that you will be looking else where for a good package. Let them know you will be looking for a package that includes great home insurance, excellent travel insurance and also good car insurance.

Listen, fear of loss WILL make them bend over backwards for you and if they don’t? Here’s another tip: When you talk to any other source to get your competitive travel insurance, make sure you mention your other assets that you could be insuring with them, such as your car, home, home contents, etc.

This won’t work with travel companies but works absolutely beautifully with most insurance companies. I have done it many times and saved myself thousands of dollars, yes thousands, over the last few years.

The insurance industry is massively competitive. For once, this works in favor of the “little guy” (you and me), so let’s use it.

4. Certain types of home insurance may also give annual travel cover. Do look into pretty much any insurance cover you have. Some home insurance policies include some forms of travel cover including loss or damage to your property while away from home.

Tip: even if you live with your parents, ask them to check their policy for you. You will be amazed to see that even “your” property is covered while away from home.

Just one word of caution: do not assume what is covered or the level cover. If you are not sure just ask the insurer. If the cover they describe seems even better than what you expected based on the policy document, then do ask them to put their clarification in writing.

Why? When any major loss occurs, the insurer will send a local expert to assess the damage. These guys are called loss adjuster. Their job is to save money for the insurance company. And I tell you from bitter personal experience, they take no prisoners.

They will screw you down to the ground, if you don’t get things in clear black and white writing. Just do it. It takes minutes to request clarification in writing but can save you thousands of dollars when you have one of these mean loss adjusters arguing with you over the policy.

5. You can also buy last minute travel insurance from travel agents and airlines at the airport. Expect to be taken advantage of, heavily! Needless to say, this is one of your most expensive options. Just avoid ending up with this option, see to your insurance long before you need to travel.

Now here’s the thing. Travel insurance policies are not all identical. As well as considering price, you absolutely must read the terms and conditions carefully. For example, the upper age limit of some insurance companies may vary.

Some companies may limit the number of annual trips, whilst others may have no limit at all. Look, most travel insurance policies cover a range of events and claims. But as they say, the devil is in the detail.

The problem you will definitely face with some really cheap policies from unknown and possibly disreputable companies is what they put in the fine print. You know what I’m talking about? … all those tiny little statements they put on the back of the form? Or if you are buying insurance online (and you should), notice all those pages of really small text they ask you to agree to?

Well, that’s where they bury lots of little conditions and limitations. Most people don’t read all the terms. Do yourself a huge favor and on this occasion, do read it all. If the insurance policy terms are full of “weasel words” or complex language, just move on and do not buy.

All insurance companies are quick to point out how many millions you can claim in “total”, in case of a serious accident. But they all limit the amount per item within your claim. So claims for loss of cash will be capped and so will claims for electronic devices, clothes, etc.

This means that with the cheaper policies you will have a really low limit. For example, if you claim for a mobile phone and an MP3 player, you may find that the limit on personal electronics is not enough to even pay for “one” of those devices, let alone both. Don’t wait for an unfortunate event to show you the flaws in a dirt cheap policy. That is the worst time to find out and it is a time when you need the most help.

What must all policies cover?

1. Loss or damage to property and cash

2. Flight delays or cancellation

3. Accidents

4. Sickness

5. Your expenses when an event occurs

6. Your potential liability to other people

7. Legal services

In comparison to your total costs, annual travel insurance is only a very small item. If you are covered for any eventuality, you’ll have less to worry about, which will translate to more relaxation and enjoyment.

Have Fun and Enhance Your Skills With the Latest Games

Fun is necessary for every human being on this earth. This is a must, because without fun a person feels tedious which might affect him badly on his work. To get the dose of relaxation or in order to finish the boredom or to pass the spare time and for many other things we seek refuge of this option. People get involved in various activities to accomplish this purpose. Some play sports, other play small games while some other get engaged in other activities.

But, as the technology has become advanced, there are some more modes of fun which have been recently introduced. Some of the most prominent among them are the video and computer games. These frolics on one side become an excellent source of fun and on the other hand they create a lot of excitement in the minds of the people. Video games are actually played by connecting the gaming devices into the television sets. Computer games are basically played in the computer with the help of a keyboard, mouse and joystick etc.

A lot of eagerness can be witnessed among the people who always remain eager to know about the latest games. Two types of computer frolics are famous nowadays – online and offline. Online games are played on Internet whereas offline ones are stored in the hard disk of the computer. In the later case, you won’t require the connection of the World Wide Web. The Online ones are available on many websites. Most of the sites and portals offer them free of cost whereas some of them charge a little extra charge for them. You would just require the flash software on your home PC which too is available of some websites of World Wide Web totally free of cost.

Some of the latest games are Conflict, Toy Warz, Slam Day, Lord of War Chapter 2, Formula 1 Champion. These frolics are based on different themes and are made for the people of all types of interests. On the surface, these themes can be categorized as adventure, fighting, castle, car or bike racing, etc. If we go in detailed classification, then many more sub-categories can be made. For instance, conflict games which are a type of fighting frolics. War of toys, in which the fight between different toys are displayed and many others. Many of these are liked mainly by children.

Some of these frolics are available for download on many websites. You can download them without paying any extra charge. Whereas, a few of these provide them after charging a little extra amount. You can download immediately by paying them via credit or debit card online. On the contrary, some of these gaming activities are also available online which can be played any time at ease.

Definitely, these frolics have proved to be a boon in the area of fun activities. With the support of these activities people can enjoy and relax even while sitting at home in front of the computer. Moreover, they have proved to be very helpful in increasing the concentration and exercising the brain of the players. That’s why, these days parents like them too. Many of the latest games are specially meant for education purposes. For example, you can see several games which help the students to enhance their typing skills. Hopefully, in near future we shall find some more like these which we can not imagine as yet.

How a Home Equity Loan Refinance Can Save You Money – Should You Refinance Your Texas Home Loan?

In Texas you can refinance your home as well as your investment property. And with today’s low mortgage rates, lots of people are doing just that using home equity loans

Plus some are doing the two-birds-one-refinance-approach: Refinance the home and pull cash out.

When it comes to refinancing, you have two options. A “rate and term” refinance or a Texas home equity loan “cash out” refinance.

With a home equity loan you pull equity out of your home or investment property.

Most people refinance to get a lower rate; this is called a “rate and term” refinance. One is keeping the same loan amount, they are just lowering or changing the rate or term of the mortgage.

Maybe they are moving out of a 30 year note to a 15 year note. This is called a rate and term refi because they are just changing the rate or the term of the original loan.

Lower mortgage rates do mean lower payments. But some clients choose a “cash out” refinance (Home Equity loan)- which means they pull equity (cash) out of their homes or investment properties for other purposes …like paying off debt or buying additional property.

For example, let’s say a family has a $450 car payment where they owe $15000. If they have enough equity in their home, it’s common for a family to refinance the home and pull enough cash out of their home to pay off other costly debt; like credit cards, cars, etc. The house payment might go up $50 but the car payment is eliminated. So a family has $400 more each month.

Some suggest against home equity loans to pay off debt stating it’s not wise to take a 3-5 year debt and spread it across 15-30 years. And these people are right. However, when I help a client save $400-500, sometimes $1000/month now these families can afford to pay extra on their 30 year mortgage and pay it off in 12-15 years.

In fact, most of the time a family will pay their home off earlier-after a home equity loan-than they would have before.

You can always call us to see if Texas home equity loan cash out refinance makes sense for you.

Home Equity Rules

Home equity loans have slightly higher rates than traditional rate and term refinances because one is raising the original loan amount. Plus when one pulls cash out of a home or investment property this is a higher risk loan. Higher risk = slightly higher rate.

And in Texas you are limited to 80% of your home’s value. Meaning if your home is worth $200,000, the most your new loan could be is $160,000. If you owe 100K, you could take out 60K or up to 80%

Then there’s the 3% home equity rule: This means the total fees associated can’t exceed 3% of the loan amount. This mostly effects those with smaller home loan balances. For example, if your home is only worth 75,000 and we are limited to 80%-your loan could only be 60K. 3% of 60k is $1800. So if your title company charges $700 for the title policy and your appraiser charges $325 and the bank charges $500 to underwrite your loan it’s not hard to be over 3%. This would mean the mortgage company could only charge $275 to be under the 3% rule.

12 day Home Equity Rule, 3 day wait-until-we-fund rule:

In Texas we have to wait at least 12 days from mortgage application to close. I even have to get a special 12 day letter signed. Then once we close, we then can’t fund the home loan for 3 days. Texas has weird home equity refinance rules so you want to work with an experienced mortgage company who does a lot of these type of loans. If you have additional questions, please call us at 512-996-8194, we help people all over Texas.

For many people home equity refinances can be a great way to jump start a new financial plan. I offer them to my clients to help them: Get out of debt, pay off bills, have more money to save and invest. My clients have saved hundreds each month by paying off high interest credit cards. My personal record is saving a family $1000/month using a home equity loan.

Once they save this money they plan to pay extra on their mortgage so they pay a 30 year note in 15 years. So used correctly, a home equity mortgage is a great way to move forward financially.

After 5 years in the mortgage business I’ve come up with my personal lending philosophy. Because anyone can do a home loan. However, my business is helping move people forward financially-starting on the mortgage level; the biggest expense for a family.

Most of my clients know my personal philosophy with mortgage lending. There are lots of mortgage people out there who promise “the lowest 30 year mortgage rate or the “best Texas 15 year mtg rate”-but this isn’t really my approach. I tend to favor what is best for the client’s short and long term. If one needs a 15 year mortgage with low closing costs, let’s use this program. Need to consolidate debt, let’s use a home equity loan.

I just don’t believe in one-size fits all mortgage plans. As soon as my clients all look the same, have the same income/debt, goals, then I’ll become a one-size fits all mortgage guy. But for now, I work with low income people, millionaires, investors, first time home buyers, second home mortgages, etc.

One’s mortgage can be either a debt instrument or a better financial tool, it’s really up to you and your mortgage professional. And in today’s economy where the realities of $5 gas aren’t really unreasonable you should work with a professional who will take the time to listen and bring the right mortgage plan to the table. Because once a mortgage is in place you must live with it.

Some questions you should ask yourself when buying or refinancing a home or investment property:

1) How much debt do I currently have? How much debt am I currently servicing each month?

2) How much in liquid savings do I currently have? Could I choose a mortgage that will help (a) lower my bills and (b) help me to save more money each month? Rate is important but now the only thing to consider. Who cares if the 15 year mortgage rate is the best rate, if it’s not affordable to you-it’s not the wise loan. Go with the 30 year rate.

3) How long do I plan to keep this home? Is this home appreciating?

4) What is my long term financial plan, and how does this new mortgage help me accomplish this plan?

#4 is where the rubber meets the road. And this is where I spend the most time with my clients; constructing the long term plan and then customizing the mortgage to fit this plan. Most people chase the lowest rate when getting into homes however without a mid-long range goal they usually end up paying more in the long-term.

Take the sub-prime meltdown. There’s nothing wrong with sub-prime loans. Sometimes things happen that cause people’s credit to go in the trash. Divorces do happen and sometimes medical bills come out of no where and people have a lot of collections. Jobs are sometimes lost and savings are use up before they were originally intended. The problem with sub-prime loans is not that they are bad, but that they need to be on Fixed rates. Not adjustable. This country has lost billions of dollars during the sub-prime meltdown for one reason: People chased the lowest rate when they bought the home and ARMs have lower rates than FIXED rates. And since ARMs had lower rates people chose ARMs over Fixed rates.

So thousands of people with bad credit bought homes on ARMs and today we have a major problem: Because people chased the lowest rate.

Having a long term financial plan. Example, let’s say you’re self employed and don’t have a company retirement plan-401k-to rely on. One approach in solving the “no 401K/IRA” problem is to own real estate. The goal is to own a few choice properties so when you do retire you will have these properties paid off and creating passive retirement income. Imagine if your mortgage broker took the time to understand your long-term goals and structured the new loan around these goals. Funny thing, most people are 15-30 years from retirement and the typical home loan is paid off in 15-30 years. Bottom line: The home you buy today could help you retire tomorrow-and you need the right home loan to go along with it.

Remember, most mortgages are based on a 15 or 30 year basis, why not structure your first home to help you retire in 30 years. I know this seems unrealistic because most people don’t keep homes that long, but going into a mortgage with a plan is better than just going into a mortgage.

Most people don’t want to take the time to think about money-but in the end-the lack of money causes a lot of other challenges in life.

This is how I’m different from the other Texas Mortgage Loan people. I believe I can either help people move forward financially or I can just get them into debt. Sure it’s easier to “sell low rates” but not at the expense of helping a client in the long term.

PMI (just so no-or at least try to get out of it.)

My clients avoid PMI when possible. But to do an 80/15 or 80/10 or an 80/10/10 one’s mortgage rate is slightly higher but the benefit is avoid pointless PMI and having lower closing costs. This is another example of why “chasing the lowest rate” isn’t always the best. Loans with PMI are better than loans without. But the benefit of not have PMI is huge. Not only will you pay less when your home loan doesn’t have PMI but your closing costs are less too.

Right now I want to touch briefly on these 3 issues and why one should be thinking of them when you buy or refinance a home. Actually, your mortgage person should customize your loan around these three points for you. If they don’t-run. If all they sell is a mortgage rate did they really serve you?

Mortgage brokers and banks love to advertise low mortgage rates. “We have the lowest rates in Texas!” But let’s think about the loan like this: “How much did it cost you to get this rate.” Because low mtg rates are one thing, but how much did it cost to get the rate?

Let’s look at one of Today’s Mortgage ads. (April 17) They are advertising a 4.87% rate.

Funny. The real 30 year rate is around 6% but they know people want “low rates” so they advertise a great rate. But when you look at the points it will take to get this rate, you’ll see there’s more to getting a mortgage than just rate. Closing costs.

For example, if you’re buying a $200K home should you really “buy the rate down” with points to get a good rate? To buy this low, low rate, it will cost $6,000 just for discount points. And yet people do this all the time. Mortgage people advertise low rate because people want low rates.

Sorta reminds me of when I bought my Toyota Tundra. I wanted to save a nickel so I went for the 2×4 instead of the 4×4 all-wheel drive. I was so proud of getting the “lowest price in town” but when it snowed or iced I had to ask my wife to drive her front-wheeled drive Honda Accord.

This is one reason why I suggest working with a mortgage broker (like me) who approaches mortgage lending from a total financial planning perspective. Because if I notice a client has a ton of credit cards and misc. debt-this 6K should not go towards a new (tax deductible) debt but towards paying off old, high interest debt that’s not tax-deductible.

Or to use real numbers, if you have the $6000 to pay towards debt, retire 15% interest debt that’s costing you $500/month instead of trying to save $200 on your mortgage. Then pay $100 extra and you’re still saving $300. Use this $300 for savings, investing or having fun.

But what about all the interest I’ll save by having a low rate? Shouldn’t I try to get the best rate so I can have lower monthly bills? Yes. Once you’re out of consumer debt-and you no longer have to pay $500 out, begin to apply $100-$200 extra on your mortgage payment. This will take years off your mortgage, usually taking a 30 year mortgage to a 12-15 year. This will save you tons in interest and give you lower payments.

When you buy or refinance any property take the time to look at the bigger picture because a mortgage or refinance can either help move you forward financially or just get you into debt.