Monthly Archives: October 2017

A Look Into the Child Custody Laws and Processes in Colorado

Child Custody and Visitation written on a paper and a book.Child custody laws in Colorado are complex. Much like everywhere else in the country, though, “the best interest of the child” takes precedence over everything else. In other words, the court determines which type of custody (joint or sole) makes most sense for the child, putting their needs on the top of the list of considerations.

Whether going through legal separation or divorce, establishing your child custody rights can be time-consuming, as well as physically and emotionally exhausting. Lewis & Matthews, P.C. notes that it’s best to hire a highly qualified and experienced family law attorney in Denver, CO. Armed with the counseling and support of such a professional, you have better chances of securing a favorable outcome.

The process of establishing parenting time and responsibilities

There are two main parts of child custody: parenting time (physical custody) and parenting responsibilities (legal custody). Physical custody refers to the amount of time you spend with your child, while legal custody pertains to the parent who should make the decisions that directly affect a child’s health and welfare.

During a child custody case, the Colorado court will give you (and your spouse) the opportunity to present evidence proving you can provide for your children, and that you are at an equal or better position to make the right decisions for them. The court will listen to you and your spouse and will grant you the corresponding level of custody based on how solidly you build your case.

Factors taken into consideration

The court considers many factors when determining the best and most suitable arrangements for a child. Your wishes play a major role here, so does your spouse’s and your child’s. The relationships your child has with you and your spouse also influence the outcome of your case. Each parent’s physical and mental well-being, and more importantly, whether abuse or neglect has already occurred, will also affect the results.

Apartment Rents in the U.S. Become Cheaper Due to Rich Tenants

An Apartment BuildingMore rich Americans joined the tenant population between 2012 and 2015, which led to a fewer number of households that are struggling with high rental fees, according to a report from New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy.

The 2017 National Rental Housing Landscape report showed that the percentage of rent-burdened households in 53 cities fell from 48.9% to 47.7%. It defined a rent-burdened people as those who spend more than 30% of their income for monthly payments.

Wealthier Occupants

Sewin Chan, the report’s co-author, suggested that the entry of rich families into the rental population may be causing a spike in rents. This allowed property landlords to increase fees on units without risking payment defaults. In 2015, there were 21% of households that earned at 120% of the area median income — that's up from 15% in 2006.

However, the recession’s impact still lingers as renters who wish to own homes continue to struggle in buying their first property, according to Alanna McCargo, co-director of Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. In addition, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said that more than 7 million affordable housing units remain unavailable for the poorest Americans.

Rental Investments

Several foreclosed homes from the recession have been converted into rental properties, such as a Section 8 real estate investment. Wealthy renters are not eligible for Section 8 housing, as it caters to low-income tenants.

However, one of the benefits of this type of investment includes regular payments since the vacancy rate is often quite low. Tenants are also required to maintain the property, which protects your asset in case you decide to invest in Section 8 rentals.

Rental prices may have fallen, yet demand for low-income housing still remains high in the U.S. This situation presents an opportunity for real estate investors to unlock growth opportunities in the rental property sector.

 

Refinance Basics: FHA Streamline or Conventional Loan?

Jar full of coins

Jar full of coinsIf you are concerned about refinance rates increasing, but have an FHA loan and are still considering refinancing, you could reflect on transitioning to a conventional mortgage. However, this move comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, so you need to determine if it is the best move for you.

Conventional Loans vs. FHA Loans

Plenty of first-time homebuyers typically lean towards FHA loans simply because of the less stringent requirements for down payment. However, the FHA typically requires homebuyers to put down a one-time MIP or mortgage insurance premium upfront that is usually 1.75% of the value of the loan.

You would likewise need to pay for a yearly premium already built in into your loan repayments. And when you refinance your FHA mortgage to a conventional loan, you will not need to pay for mortgage insurance, but only if your home equity is more than 20%, says refinance specialists in Tempe.

Save on Costs

Finance expert VIP Mortgage notes that this would result in bigger savings and reduced monthly payments. You could then use the money for repaying your other debts, putting some for your retirement fund, or for building your emergency fund.

However, you need to be prepared for associated costs when you refinance your FHA loan to a conventional mortgage. The most substantial upfront cost would come from paying closing costs that could cost between 2% and 5% of the value of your mortgage.

Insufficient equity

However, if you do not have sufficient home equity, you might get stuck paying for PMI or private mortgage insurance when refinancing. These combined costs could offset the savings you get from the lower interest if you cannot secure a significant discount on your interest rate.

Do note however that you will still need to make yearly payments for mortgage insurance premiums, which is a tradeoff if you decide to go with an FHA refinance.

Getting the Deal that Makes the Most Sense

If you are not entirely certain that a traditional refinance or FHA refinance is the ideal option for you, it is best that you look around and see what other options are available to you.

You need to estimate all associated refi costs including closing costs so that you could determine which option would give you the biggest savings.

Memphis Police to Launch New Dispatch System for Faster Response Times

Police car and a policeman

Police car and a policemanThe Memphis Police Department (MPD) expects the use of the Intergraph Mobile for Public Safety (IMPS) to improve the response time for police calls, according to the department’s director of emergency communications.

MPD Emergency Communications Administrator Michael Spencer said that the GPS-based system would allow police officers to take action more quickly by sending the nearest squad car.

GPS-Equipped Computers

While a police vehicle with an emergency vehicle led light bar lets officers to avoid traffic, ledequipped.com further explains that the use of the new technology would make work easier for dispatchers. The MPD has installed the IMPS tool on laptops in mobile units, which would easily determine the location of squad cars and the type of emergency calls.

The technology comes at a good time, as the city’s police force grapples with fewer members. As of October, there were just 1,981 police officers that fell below the desirable 2,400 members. However, the department would likely receive fewer reports on juvenile cases as these have steadily fallen since 2011.

Law-Abiding Juveniles

Total criminal charges against juvenile delinquents in Memphis have dropped since 2011, according to an analysis of Juvenile Court figures between January and August 2017. These criminal cases included felonies and misdemeanors, which fell 59.7% versus 2011 and 25.2% compared to 2016.

Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael suggested that a further reduction of the juvenile crime rate should begin with correcting the child’s behavior. At this stage, they avoid becoming adult offenders that are “habitually tied to the criminal justice system,” according to Michael. Initiatives, like the Operation: Safe Community crime plan, are some of the solutions that could break the cycle of juvenile cases in the city, especially for repeat offenders.

The IMPS tool would be a good solution to address a need for quicker response time among police officers in Memphis. It would also prevent the further spread of crimes, particularly those involving young people.

The Psychology Behind the Design and Color of Safety Signs

Image of a safety sign

Image of a safety signSafety signs give people general information to stay safe. They also help people navigate through a new place or establishment. You may wonder why signs look the way they do, and why sign makers use particular colors for specific signs. Their design relies on their purpose and the message they are sending.

Safety Sign Standards

Safety signs come in five colors according to the information they provide:

  • Red: danger
  • Orange: warning
  • Yellow: caution
  • Blue: notice
  • Green: safety instructions

They also come in different shapes based on their category. Clarionsafety.com says that simple one-word/one-image signs are outdated and lack information. The designs have changed over the past 100 years. Signs now follow standards set by authorities like the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The new signs have quick, informative text along with their respective safety colors. They require sufficient information and warning and must communicate such messages more clearly.

The Psychology of Safety Signs

There’s a psychology that goes into safety sign patterns. Colors must not only send important messages but also catch people’s attention. Safety sign standards consider the intensity of colors and tie them with the urgency of the message. When a sign needs to be readable, it should have a color that’s easy on the eyes like blue or green. If a sign demands immediate attention, they come in red or yellow.

Some signs serve as activators and instruct people about safety measures. Some encourage individuals to make these safety precautions a habit. However, the challenge comes with making them stop, look, and read. Because people can be distracted, some signs use other techniques to grab attention especially when they are text-heavy. Some companies, for instance, use a dash of wit and humor to make signs less forceful and more interesting.

Changing the current behavior of individuals or starting a new habit is the primary challenge of safety signs. They carry enormous responsibilities that can save lives, so it’s important that they are designed appropriately and more efficiently.

Types of Couplers for Mini Excavators

Mini excavator being used for road constructionWhether it is clearing land, drilling holes for planting, sculpting a golf course or digging an irrigation trench, mini excavators have a broad range of uses in landscaping. Regardless the landscaping project you are involved in, experts from companies such as Tuff Stuff say that you need to change your excavator tracks, machine attachments, and couplers. All of these have a significant part in helping you increase your job efficiency. Quick connect couplers help you change your excavator’s tools in minutes and spend more of your time performing the task at hand. Here are the types of couplers available in the market.

Manual Couplers

Manual couplers necessitate the operator to get out of the excavator to switch attachments. Compared to ‘’pin-on’’ arrangements, they significantly decrease the quantity of work and save half an hour for every attachment change. They are an ideal choice for companies which change their machine attachments 3 to 4 times per week and could see a decreased downtime of about two hours each week.

Hydraulic Couplers

These permit operators to alternate attachments from inside the cab using controls and within a shorter time compared to manual couplers. They are best for companies which need attachment changes several times in a day for them to complete their work. Hydraulic couplers reduce downtimes by about 30 minutes compared to manual couplers and reduce the operator’s overall safety.

Tilt Couplers

Tilt couplers permit a rotation of 180 degrees giving the operator the ability to access places they would not typically be able to access with a pin-on arrangement. They are ideal for high-end landscaping jobs that involve shaping and sculpting like designing golf courses. Tilt couplers reduce the time taken on grading.

You need to evaluate your frequency of changing attachments and the job you are doing to find the best coupler to suit your needs. With the right coupler for your excavators, you will increase efficiency and increase your work capacity. Ensure you work with a supplier that deals with genuine spare parts that are readily available.

4 Simple Ways to Create a Classy Office

An Office SpaceThe office is the heart of every business, yet many offices still maintain a rather drab and uninspiring ambiance. The same dull workspaces from decades ago still feature prominently in many companies, today.

If you’ve been looking for ways to revamp your office, here are simple tips how to go about it.

Upgrade your furniture

Those old, stiff chairs are doing you no good. Industry experts at Online Office Furniture point out that ergonomic chairs not only look better, they are better for your employees’ health. Your team members spend a good chunk of their day sitting in their chair. It would be great for you to make office life easier for them by ensuring their comfort. There are a variety of options and ergonomic selections of office furniture, online, at reasonable prices.

Revamp your waiting area

Keep in mind that your clients, even when they visit you, have got other businesses to handle. That means that the waiting area needs to facilitate their businesses and keep them comfortable. Spruce up the area, and provide such services as Wi-Fi. Also, invest in a large-screen TV to keep visitors and clients engaged as they wait to be served.

Be creative with lighting

Few things can transform a space like creative lighting. A brightly lit office can help employees work efficiently.  If you are still used the same old, dim light fixtures you did five years ago, it’s time to go for something modern and appealing.

Consider new décor

The items in your office determine the overall mood of your workers and clients. Select items that create a good ambiance. An aquarium in your waiting room, for instance, contributes to the cheerfulness of the atmosphere besides creating a lasting impression on your visitors. A well-placed lamp brings a nice, cozy feel while improving your lighting.

The best way to know whether your office is an inviting place for your customers and your staff is by putting yourselves in their shoes. By doing just a few simple upgrades, you can make your workspace a more appealing one.

4 Ways to Protect Company Data

Data SecurityIn an era when companies around the world are becoming more reliant on computers to do everything in their processes, data protection is becoming more important. If the data gets into the wrong hands or gets deleted from the company’s resources, it could mean the end of the company as you know it. To start protecting your data, check out the following tips:

Use APC UPS battery for power equipment

Many data losses in companies happen because of unexpected power interruptions. Avoid this by integrating an APC UPS device in your power system. This way, power surges and power interruptions will not affect any data, as the device will be able to regulate power that flows to the computer system. If the APC UPS is starting to fail, You can simply replace your APC UPS battery for it to work effectively once again.

Draft a company data policy

Your company’s data policy will be the guiding framework of your company operations, and if ever a security breach happens. Every company must have them, and that includes yours.

Limit access to certain files

There are company files that should only be accessible to those who directly work with them. Due to this, access to files must be limited to a certain segment of the company. If possible, they should no longer be able to use it once they're done accessing it.

Get insurance

The risk of losing important data can be taken care of by insurance. An insurance will be able to protect any company that may be affected by the data breach.

The protection of computer data should be a priority for any company. These data are usually proprietary or sensitive, which means they should not be in the hands of other people.

 

Mitigate Water Damage Before the Specialists Arrive

Water Damaged CeilingWhether the source of the potentially damaging water is a flood, faulty plumbing, damaged pipes, or torrential rains, every minute your possessions remain in the soaked water means more damage. Despite being seemingly manageable, water can cause extensive damage to your drywall, attic, floorboards, and your possessions. DIY skills may not adequately solve the problem of water damage in Salt Lake City, but you can still take some steps to minimize losses. The experts at AAA Restoration explain them below.

Think of Safety

Before you jump into action and wade into a flooded area to save your stuff, make sure that there is no risk to your safety. Consider the possibility of exposed electrical wiring or surfaces that could potentially become unstable when wet. Avoid entering potentially dangerous rooms and inform the specialists of your fears once they arrive. If possible, switch off the electricity in the building.

Salvage What You Can

If the affected areas are safe, cautiously access them and retrieve what you can. Start with essential items that water can easily ruin. List your priorities in order of market value, and focus on what you can carry. For example, if you're on your own, don't attempt to lift large appliances. Use your time wisely.

Get Rid of Excess Water

Pools of water are more damaging than most people assume. It makes sense to get a head start in removing these pools. Scoop water out of the larger pools and mop up other spaces. Your efforts would prevent damage that could potentially occur without immediate action.

Don't rely only on your efforts, however. Remember that experts in water damage control know where to look and what to use to prevent mold build-up on your property. They can quickly, safely and more efficiently turn around even the most frustrating situations. Again, every minute counts and the quicker you get the required help, the better.

Uninterruptible Power Supply and its Importance in the UK

Closeup look at maintenance free UPS battery Most of us may think that a developed country such as the UK is unaffected by issues concerning stable electricity supply, but the reality may provide a different picture.

Many developments in modern technology have allowed data to be stored remotely and online in the country, yet supply constraints have led to power blackouts and brownouts among other problems. For this reason, businesses should consider an effective Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) solution that relies on batteries.

Power Outage

Power failure can have a severe impact not just on a company’s reputation, but also on operational costs. For instance, a ‘worldwide system power failure’ that hit two major British airlines in May caused thousands of passengers to be stranded or experience cancelled flights. If your business relies on a stable power supply, you should consider battery-based energy storage technology.

While diesel generators or combined heat and power (CHP) systems are UPS sources, these have become outdated in protecting facility security breaches. As the software continues to progress, BatteryClerk recommends investing in APC UPS replacement battery as an alternative solution. These batteries help in sustaining a reliable supply of power, especially during life and death situations.

Life Support

UPS batteries are less likely to fall prey to security breaches, but companies should not be complacent about protecting their data and facilities from unauthorised access. Life support machines in a hospital are a good example.

Many lives can fall into the wrong hands if hackers are able to tap into your UPS network and turn them off. For this reason, companies should be careful in selecting a trusted provider of UPS.

The UK may not be immune to power supply and electricity issues, yet businesses can prevent costly issues caused by power failures by investing in the right products. How do you plan to protect your power supply network?