Passion for Success
Serving California since 1990
Personalized Attention to your Legal Matter
We offer FREE – NO OBLIGATION telephonic consultations with evening and weekend appointments available. We NEVER charged for telephone calls to the office to discuss YOUR case. We NEVER charge when we are contacting YOU to provide case updates or need information for YOUR representation.
Bankruptcy Basics – What You Need to Know
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When most people think of bankruptcy, they are usually thinking of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy in the United States.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the individual is allowed to keep certain exempt property. Most liens, however (such as real estate mortgages and security interests for car loans), survive, unless you choose to surrender the property. The amount of property that can be claimed as exempt varies from state to state. Non-exempt assets, if any, are sold by the trustee to repay creditors. Many types of unsecured debt are legally discharged by the bankruptcy proceeding.
Chapter 7 allows you to eliminate unsecured debt such as
• Credit cards
• Medical bills
• Unsecured loans
• Personal loans
• Older tax debt may be dischargeable
• Debts from a vehicle repossession
• Home equity lines of credit (HELOC), if your home was foreclosed or surrendered
There are various types of debt that are not discharged in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Common examples of non-dischargeable debt include
• Child support
• Income taxes less than 3 years old and property taxes
• Student loans (very rare exceptions)
• Fines and restitution imposed by a court for any crimes committed by the debtor
• Spousal support
• Property settlements through divorce
Despite their potential non-dischargeability, all debts must be listed on bankruptcy schedules
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on an individual’s credit report for 10 years from the date of filing. This can make credit less available and terms less favorable, although high debt or delinquent debt can have the same effect. Future ability to obtain credit is dependent on multiple factors
BENEFITS OF FILING FOR CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for debtors who need a fresh start financially. Chapter 7 will stop wage garnishments, bank levies, and lawsuits filed by creditors. Many assets, such as bank accounts, vehicles, equity in your home, and jewelry are protected under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is completed you can begin rebuilding your credit. If you do nothing, your credit rating will continue showing late payments and balances owed
FILING FOR CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the quickest way out of debt and the quickest way to rebuild credit. Once we have met with you and discussed your options, we will prepare the paperwork for filing, complete the Means Test and determine the best time to file.
You will need to be prepared to provide the following documents in order for us to prepare your case:
• A copy of your most recent filed tax return
• If you are working, copies of your paystubs for the last 6 months
• Copy of your valid picture ID (driver’s license)
• Copy of your SS card or other form of SS number verification
• Also, you will be required to take a credit counseling course (online or by telephone) before your case is filed and a Financial Management course after your case is filed. Our office provides clients with the information to complete these courses at the appropriate times.
Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, the court immediately issues an order called an “automatic stay.” At that time, your creditors are prevented from taking any further steps to collect the debt. This bankruptcy order is often the relief most people need just to start putting their finances back in order.
Approximately 45 days after filing your case, you are required to attend a creditor meeting with your attorney. There is no judge present, but a trustee is assigned to your case and verifies the information in your bankruptcy petition. At the end of your case, you will receive an Order of Discharge issued by a Federal Bankruptcy Court. This court order prevents creditors from taking any further action to enforce collections against you.
Learn more about the protection Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers. Contact us today your free initial consultation.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, our office works closely with our clients to reorganize their debt and prepare a manageable payment plan. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy process takes longer than Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
However, it allows clients several other benefits not available in a Chapter 7, such as:
• The ability to protect additional assets.
• Remove second and third mortgages.
• Stop a foreclosure.
• Set up payments to pay arrearages.
• Repay non-dischargeable IRS/FTB taxes, without interest.
FILING FOR CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, clients work with their attorney to create a repayment plan for their debt. The Chapter 13 Plan is based on monthly income and expenses. The repayment plan is submitted to the court, and there is a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. Once the payment plan is approved by the court, clients make payments for 3-5 years. Any remaining unsecured debt goes away and is discharged at the end of the payment plan.
BENEFITS OF CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy helps clients eliminate second and third mortgages, and also may reduce vehicle loans to present day value. You do not need to give up any personal property. Bankruptcy will stop collection calls, lawsuits, foreclosures, wage garnishments and repossessions. Bankruptcy can discharge unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills, and generally clients are able to retain their vehicles, personal possessions and homes.
There is no reason to feel embarrassed or guilty about filing bankruptcy. Many successful people and companies have filed for bankruptcy. Our office is a judgment free zone. Our goal is to help you get relief from your debts and be able to move forward in life debt free
The Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek has been helping clients file for Bankruptcy for over 25 years. When clients contact our firm for assistance, we work closely with them to explain their options and help them through the bankruptcy process. You will receive prompt, personal service and we strive to help our clients feel less stressed about their financial situation.
Business Litigation Cases
Protecting Your Business Interests
It is hard enough to run a business today so let our law office protect your interests when you need legal representation.We litigate business disputes of all kinds, including
Disputes among partners, shareholders and LLC members
Business versus business disputes, including disputes with vendors
Disputes over contracts, including breach of contract claims
Disputes over the sale of a business
Disputes over business fraud and wrongful conduct
Commercial real estate disputes
Commercial landlord/tenant disputes
Fraud and Misrepresentation claims.
Businesses do not engage in disputes for their own sake. Every dispute is the result of another party attempting to stand between a business and its goals. The purpose of business litigation is to clear an obstacle out of the path as quickly and cost-effectively as possible to get back on track toward success. When we begin a business dispute case, we spend as much time learning about what the business is trying to accomplish overall as we do about the specifics of the dispute at hand. This allows us to tailor a legal strategy with the final goal in mind
Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation today.
Civil Litigation Cases
We Fight For You
We represent individuals in the following types of matters
Breach of Contract Cases
Fraud / Intentional / Negligent Misrepresentation Cases
Civil Harassment Cases
Real Estate Disputes
Legal Malpractice Cases
Navigating though the legal process is difficult and you should never do it alone. We take the time to understand your situation, will provide you an understanding the what is needed to be successful in your case, describe the process and fight hard to either settle your case or prepare and bring the matter to mediation / arbitration or trial.
Family Law Cases
What You Should Know About Divorce and Custody
We are able to help clients resolve any family law problem, whether the matter relates to divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership or child custody. We know the legal process is unfamiliar to most people. We guide clients through complex issues such as prenuptial agreements, assisted reproduction and parental relocation
Listed here are some of the legal matters that we handle in our family law practice
Divorce: Our attorneys understand that clients face significant stress and anxiety. Our organized approach to divorce and related matters helps remove some of the uncertainty that is inevitable when dealing with challenges involving divorce.
Spousal Support: Also known as alimony, spousal support is frequently a negotiated matter in California, with the court having significant leeway when determining support awards. We work with financial specialists who can help assess the income available for spousal support awards.
Domestic Partnership Dissolution: Our lawyers understand the similarities and differences between domestic partnership dissolution and divorce. The law in this area is evolving; clients can be confident that we are aware of current developments in these matters.
Distribution of Assets: Our attorneys have business and financial training that combines with legal education and experience to make this often-complex process go smoothly.
Child Custody: Child custody is often the most important issue in divorce. Our firm strives to develop solutions that benefit children and work for parents.
Child Support: We explain the California child support formula to clients and ensure that all relevant factors are included when the court determines the award.
Move-away Disputes: Parental relocations can be hotly contested matters. Our attorneys advocate for clients who are seeking to move or who hope to prevent the other parent from moving.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: Premarital agreements specify how couples will handle their assets during marriage and after a divorce or the death of one of the spouses. Postmarital agreements are similar, but are executed after couples are married
The Divorce Process
The process of bringing the details of a marriage or domestic partnership to an end is a sensitive, stressful and often highly emotional time for the individuals involved. We take pride on navigating our clients through the maze of divorce. From the outset, we will explain your different “process options” for your case – such as litigation, mediation, or collaborative law – and provide you a recommendation on the most appropriate option(s) for your case.
Divorcing couples can reach out of court settlement in a number of ways.
If the couple is able to communicate effectively, they can negotiate the settlement themselves. This is known as the “kitchen table” approach because the couple often negotiates these agreements themselves. Couples who negotiate their own agreements should consult with attorneys before they sign to ensure that they are fully aware of their rights under the law.
Alternatively, divorcing couples may choose to hire their own family law lawyers to negotiate on their behalf. When the parties are committed to settling the case out of court, this option can save each person significant expense while reducing the amount of direct communication with a former spouse.
In the mediation process, a neutral mediator, who may or may not be an attorney, meets with the parties to resolve a divorce. The mediator does not act as an attorney for either party and may not give any advice. If appropriate, the mediator may explain pertinent areas of the law to facilitate the discussion and resolution. Parties in mediation frequently retain consulting attorneys for advice during the mediation process.
Our attorneys act as divorce mediators and also serve as consulting attorneys to parties working with mediators.
In collaborative divorce, the parties use a team of professionals to reach an out of court settlement. The team often consists of one attorney for each party, one mental health professional for each party, a financial consultant, and when appropriate, a child psychologist
Typically the process begins with a meeting where the couple and their respective attorneys discuss the issues related to the divorce. The goal is for the group to act as a team even though each side is represented by his/her own divorce attorney. The couple is encouraged to lead the discussions but they may also have private consultations with their attorneys. Collaborative law encourages the couple to work together in a cooperative environment. If one or both members of the couple chooses to litigate, the divorce attorneys and all other team professionals must withdraw from representation.
Litigation is the final alternative when the couple cannot reach a negotiated agreement on all or some of their issues. Through litigation, the couple asks the court to make decisions they cannot resolve. Many people hire divorce attorneys to represent them in all aspects of the divorce. However, a person may choose to represent themselves or to hire an attorney for use as a consultant. It is important to consult an attorney early for legal advice during a divorce. Litigation is a highly adversarial process where the outcome is contingent on complex legal rules and the particular facts of the case.
Personal Injury Cases
If you have been injured and are unsure of your rights, contact the Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek for a free consultation
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims can arise out of many different types of accidents and situations, such as:
Damages in a personal injury claim refer to the losses suffered by a victim. There are two types of damages, special and general. For an accident victim to have a viable claim, he must have suffered a loss.
Special Damages: These include all costs related to medical care, wage loss while recuperating from injuries and property damage.Accidents
General Damages:These can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.
Damages can also be awarded for future earnings and future medical costs.
Time Limitations for filing a personal injury claim
The law has strict time limits for filing a personal injury claim. These time limits are referred to as the statute of limitations. If an injured party fails to file a claim within a specified time, they can be forever barred from making a claim for their injuries
If You Are Injured in an Accident That Is Not Your Fault
Call us at (877) 925-2889 or complete the contact form on this page. We will be able to provide a free, no obligation consultation. We work with clients to protect their right to compensation. We never collect a fee for our services, unless a recovery is made. Contact us today for your free consultation.
Document Preparation Services
SAVE MONEY WITH OUR ATTORNEY ASSISTED
DOCUMENT PREPARATION SERVICE
Not everyone can afford to hire an attorney. In fact, the majority of bankruptcy and family law cases are filed by those forced to represent themselves. So – who prepares their paperwork?? Most of the time the paperwork will be completed by a “paralegal” or someone claiming to have some legal experience in completing the forms.
Only Attorneys can provide legal advice. So if you go to a legal document preparer – that person cannot give you any suggestions, answer any of your questions or even suggest to you what documents you need to file for your case. They can only do exactly as you instruct. Any document preparer who does anything of those things is practicing law without a license!
My law office now offers “ATTORNEY ASSISTED” document preparation services. We do the same interview we would do if you were retaining our office to represent you as your attorney in your matter. Except – all we are doing is advising you about the process, what documents you need to complete, what you can expect and preparing those pleadings as if you are representing yourself in the matter – saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in legal fees!
Why do we offer this service? Because we know not everyone can afford to hire an attorney. But that does not mean we want anyone to use someone who is giving legal advice when they are not qualified to do so. Afterall, you would not want to receive medical advice from anyone other than a doctor right? So if you could not afford legal insurance you may be able to get that medical advice through a medical clinic, medi-cal or some place similar. You would NOT want to get that medical advice from anyone who was not a doctor! Well we do not want you to get your legal advice or have your documents prepared by ANYONE other than a licensed and experienced attorney!
So – if you need help filing for a divorce, asking for or modifying child custody or visitation, or preparing a bankruptcy – why go to a non-attorney when you can get better care at our office for the same low cost?
Simply complete our worksheet and schedule your appointment on our home page and speak with me personally. I look forward to helping you with your legal matter.