green house

SmartMoney has posted an article on MSN indicating that divorcing couples no longer want the family home.  This should really be of no surprise.  Given that homes these days are essentially losing investments laden with debt; what person really wants to come out of a divorce with a massive debt obligation on their hands?  This is the first time in a long time anyone has seen a bear market in housing.  To make matters worse, the house is the kind of debt obligation that is unique.  Unlike a bad stock that you can unload when the investment goes sour or a credit card which is an unsecured obligation, a mortgage is usually tied to one or two lenders.  The more lenders involved, the more difficult it is to get all parties cooperating; not to mention you still have to deal with the other divorcing party who may be hostile and not wanting to communicate about this.

The declining housing market is wreaking havoc with divorce rates and in trying to have clean divorce settlements.  The market itself just isn’t allowing homes to sell like the good ole’ days.  The MSN article alludes to giving advice such as “waiting it out”, “renting out the house” or considering a “short sale”.  What if none of those are good options?  The first two involve working with the other party in a divorce and the third involves receiving written permission from one or maybe two lenders.  This sounds all good but the bank is literally a big enemy where you have an underwater home and a divorcing couple. 

Bankruptcy issues are crossing over into family law in these types of scenarios.  I cannot provide any significant advice on this issue except to talk to your attorneys about this and one of them might in fact have to be a bankruptcy attorney in certain situations.  One thing is for certain, while deciding to divorce can be challenging; unloading the biggest debt a couple can have that is tied to a bank, lender or other third party, is even more challenging. 

Link to MSN Article:

For more information concerning this issue or others involving divorce and the marital home, consult with a San Francisco divorce attorney in your area. 

Demonstrators For And Against Proposition 8

Demonstrators For And Against Proposition 8

Helen Zia tesified in the Same Sex Marriage Trial presently going on in San Francisco that California’s domestic partnership law is not a compatible substitute to traditional marriage.  Ms. Zia and her partner Lia Shigemura were one of the couples who took advatantage of the gay marriage law that was briefly in effect in 2008. 

Earlier that same day, Cambridge University psychologist Michael Lamb had testified that children raised by same sex parents were as well adjusted and safe from abuse from other kids who grow up with a mother and a father.  Lamb said there was no evidence that gays or lesbians were more likely to abuse children than traditional couples. 

The attorney for the proponents of Proposition 8 on cross examination asked if there was any empirical evidence related to children of transgender individuals and the outcomes of children of bisexuals.  Lamb agreed he did not have any evidence.  Lamb also agreed on cross examination that men and women were significantly different; that men were more likely to be alcoholics, have learning disabilities and engage in acts of violence.  The attorney also got the psychologist to agree that breast-feeding has benefits for children that men cannot provide to a child. 

Lawyers representing the proponents of Proposition 8 are expected to start presenting their case this week.  For further information concerning the same sex marriage trial, domestic partnerships or divorce please feel free to e-mail me.

Chief city economist Edmund Egan testified today that the state ban on gay marriage is costing San Francisco millions in lost revenue and increased services.  Although Egan could not precisely quantify how much the city would have gained if it had allowed same sex marriage, he estimated the number was around $2.6 million in hotel and sales tax revenue every year.

The figure cited by Egan was based on the roughly 5100 marriage licenses that were issued in San Francisco when gay marriage was legal in 2008 for a 5 month duration.  Egan’s logic derived from the assumption that if San Francisco experienced an uptick in weddings, economic activity related to weddings would also increase.

Further testimony was given that the city had seen higher mental health costs due to discrimination against gays with projected costs at $2.5 million.  Egan indicated that San Francisco must spend more on health care for uninsured workers because same-sex couples are not always covered under their partner’s employee health care plans.  Testimony given by the city was clear; the ban on gay marriage has a negative economic impact on incoming tax revenue.

Supreme Court The United States Supreme Court decided to block cameras from covering the same sex marriage trial presently going on in San Francisco.  Judge Vaughn Walker had previously permitted real-time streaming of the proceedings and had wanted to post the trial itself on YouTube.  However in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court majority criticized Judge Walker of trying to change the rules “at the eleventh hour to treat this case differently than other trials.”

Although all 50 states have traditionally allowed cameras into certain state-level proceedings, federal courts have usually refused to allow cameras into their courtrooms.  Congress itself has failed numerous times to pass legislation allowing such technology in the federal court system.

The same sex marriage trial is nothing short of controversial and hostile.  Proponents for gay marriage in the case produced a letter from a Chinese American church group that expressed having sex with children was next on their agenda list and that “other states would fall into Satan’s hands” if gays were permitted to marry.  Opponents to gay marriage will be arguing that the passage of Proposition 8 was not directed as bias to same sex couples.

Arguments for the case are contiuning.  Check back here for updates.

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