From the Record:
New Jersey’s courts are feeling the pressure of the ongoing recession with mortgage foreclosures soaring and credit-card debt lawsuits on the rise as well.
The state court system in October posted a record number of mortgage foreclosure filings for one month with more than 5,000 new cases, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said Thursday.
“Each of these cases involves the potential for someone losing their home,” Rabner said.
In all, 46,130 foreclosures were filed in a 12-month period that ended September 2008. There were a total of 31,667 mortgage foreclosure filings, about 46 percent fewer, during the previous 12-month period.
In response, the court system has started a new program that provides mediation in an effort to get lenders and borrowers to come up with ways to prevent owner-occupied foreclosures. Mediation is now mandatory when a foreclosure is contested by the homeowner.
The courts must remain neutral in foreclosure cases, but Rabner said both the lender and the borrower have an incentive to participate in mediation sessions and reach an agreement.
“We’re encouraging people to participate at any step of the process even up until the time of the sheriff’s sale,” he said.