Attorney John Mlnarik

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Continuing its outreach to the Bay Area business community, the Mlnarik Law Group, LLC will be one of only eight Santa Clara exhibitors at this year's S-3 Tri-Chamber Mixer & Mini Expo.  Held from 5:30 to 7:30pm, January 19, 2012, at the Doubletree by Hilton San Jose, the Mixer/Mini Expo is the joint effort of the San Jose Silicon Valley, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale Chambers of Commerce.

Hundreds of Chamber members will be on hand to make new business connections b2ap3_thumbnail_S3-Tri-Chamber-Mixer-Set-Up-300x224.jpgand strengthen old ties, and the Mlnarik Law Group will be prominently featured in their midst.  At last year's event our fellow exhibitors included everything from a graphic design firm to a "troubleshooting" business consultant to a candy company run by local entrepreneurs.  The Mlnarik Law Group was on hand offering its legal expertise in all matters of corporate governance, including business formation, development, and maintenance.  How to decide between being an LLC, S-Corp, LLP, GP, or Sole Proprietorship?  What should you (or shouldn't you) include in the employee handbook?  When is it necessary to use NDAs or "non-competes"?  What will be your web agreements and privacy policies?  Our attorneys cover all that and much more, and the Chambers of three Bay Area cities are getting to know us better with each new year.

However, the Mlnarik Law Group, LLC is much more than a business boutique.  As "A neighborhood law firm committed to your success"TM our work reaches into the areas of real estate, estate planning, family law, employment law, bankruptcy and fair treatment of debtors, not to mention general litigation on a case-by-case basis.  But why read about it here?  Come on down to the Tri-Chamber Mixer and Mini Expo and we'll tell you all about it! Jim Erickson, Associate

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Usually when someone receives dozens of phone calls at all hours of the day, all by the  same person who also troubles the victim's family, friends and neighbors, we have a word for it: STALKER! And stalkers, as we all know, are criminals.

But suppose the same scenario applies with just one difference: the "stalker" is a debt collector. Most people would be much less likely to think of the behavior as criminal. But in a sense, it is. Maybe it's not as scary (except to your pocketbook), and maybe it's not as creepy (although often extremely creepy tactics ARE used), but it's every bit as illegal -- in that the debt collector can be hauled into court and face stiff penalties. However, it's not the police who do the job: If you're the victim, it's YOU. You can take action against the debt collector and, if you're successful, you can collect as much as $1,000.00 in fines and you can recover your attorney's fees and court costs -- all thanks to something called the FDCPA (here) and its cousin, the Rosenthal Act.

The list of debt collector no-no's is much too long to post here, but we can briefly mention the most typical abuses. If you notify them in writing to "cease further communication," their phone calls have to stop; the same goes if you tell them your attorney's name and that doesn't even have to be in writing!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_2012-New-Years-Resolution-150x150.jpgCelebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a blast!  I enjoy celebrating everything that has been accomplished and look forward to what lies ahead.  This year the top ten New Year resolutions look to be the same as last year's, and I can’t help but ponder a hypothesis.

As we compete to get ahead, people compromise what is most important to them in order to survive; and as the economy declines the sacrifices made become deeper as competition grows.  As the unemployment rate increases those who remain employed find themselves, paradoxically, sacrificing time with their families in order to support them; and sacrificing their own physical and psychological health in order to support themselves.

With 2012 an election year, we look to our leaders for guidance and ask what they will do to turn things around and put Americans back to work.  But without looking to our leaders for guidance, I focus on the people I see every day and change what I can and let go of what I can’t.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Child-Custody1-150x150.jpgWith the holiday season upon us, this time is not always joyful for separated parents that share custody over their children. It can be one of the most difficult times of the year. Balancing your desires to share the holiday with your child, the other parent’s desires and the desires of your children can quickly turn a joyous season into a headache. Below are some tips on how to successfully navigate the holidays for a peaceful and happy celebration.

  1. Remind yourself that it’s about your children. It’s ok to have your own desires, but remember that as a parent your child’s happiness comes first. In California, the Court’s overriding principal in making child custody orders is what is in the “best interest of the child”. You should have this principal to guide your decisions as well.
  2. Respect your child’s relationship with the other parent. The California legislature has chosen to codify the belief that in most cases it is in the best interests of the child for them to have full and frequent contact with the other parent. Sharing the holidays isn’t about respecting the parent but instead it’s about respecting your child’s need for a relationship with the other parent. Try and be flexible with the other parent’s schedule and encourage your children to participate.
  3. Establish a holiday schedule early. The best way to avoid holiday custody disputes is to establish a holiday custody schedule early on. Come to an agreement with the other parent over how to share the holidays with your children and have an attorney help you make it a court order. Having a preset holiday visitation order can help set expectations early and allow everyone involved to plan ahead.
  4. Make new traditions. Most everyone has holiday traditions that they grew up with as a child. Unless your traditions involved sharing the holidays between two different parents you are most likely going to make some new ones. Maybe this means that every year you have your Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve and the other parent celebrates with your child on Christmas Day. Traditions are what you choose to make and may need to be modified in order to accommodate the other parent.
  5. Be Flexible. Having a custody order helps provide stability for your child, but there will come times when either you or the other parent will want to modify the arrangement to accommodate something special. Making a modification request early and your flexibility in responding to the other parent’s requests is key in avoiding the Courts. If you are faced with an intractable parent who won’t accommodate your reasonable request, being able to point to a time when you did accommodate may go a long way toward getting a judge to side with you.

Hope these tips bring divorced and/or separated parents piece of mind accommodating to one another’s schedule this holiday season. - James Steinle, Family Law Attorney

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b2ap3_thumbnail_New-Home-New-Year-Relationship-150x150.jpgIf you’re considering buying a place with your boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other, you can take advantage of the great real estate deals that are currently out there. Whether it be a short sale or foreclosed property, you both may fall in love with a great house, but as sometimes happens, fall out of love with your partner. We can get caught up with the joy and spirit of the Christmas holiday season and many couples don’t think ahead of this unfortunate outcome. Many are forced to sort out what they’re going to do with their house down the line. If you’re married, there are plenty of California laws out there that will help protect you. If you’re not, you won’t be so lucky.

In the event you’re ready to take the plunge, consider an agreement to document who is responsible for what and what you’ll do with the house if you part ways. Important things to consider are who will pay for things like the mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance? More importantly, you should consider how you can realistically afford to sell or maintain the property in the event you do split up. Allowing for concrete time frames to secure new financing and allocating responsibility for who will take care of the payments when the house is still in both your names are the big issues.

If you’re looking planning to make a big purchase like this with that special someone over the Christmas holiday season or the upcoming new year, consider drafting an agreement to protect yourselves now and down the line.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Holiday-Money-Saving-Tips-150x150.jpgThis holiday season do yourself a favor and focus on what matters most.  Time with family far away from the crowds at Costco are what I enjoy.  Sure you can buy your Christmas cookies but why not spend time with the kids baking them instead!

Tip #1: Cook for yourself- Eating out is expensive and with the average price of eating at a restaurant at $55, you can feast at home and have leftovers the next day.

Tip #2: Shop the thrift and consignment stores- When our daughter recently turned four, we bought her birthday gifts from the dollar store.  She was happy as could be and told us that it was her best birthday ever! There are great deals at Goodwill and if you haven’t been in one lately you should check it out.  Many merchandise are lightlyused and as good as new.

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Giving thanks is more difficult than it has been in years for so many Americans.  As banks foreclose the economic crisis hits home and has become about more than money.  Families overextended themselves when professionals told them they would fall behind if they didn’t BUY NOW.  Students, young and old took out mountains of loans when shown statistics of graduates obtaining high paying jobs upon graduation.   Insight into the phrase “Buyer beware” is at an all-time high as consumer confidence hits record lows.

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John Mlnarik at his post in the office[/caption] Welcome and thank you for pointing your browser in our direction. On our website in our videos and through this blog we hope to demystify practice areas and topics all too familiar to us. Unlike the posted speed limit the law is not open and obvious to you. But it affects your daily life all the same. Follow us as we begin a journey that will provide general information and is sure to be educational, informative and perhaps even interesting. I look forward to your insights, questions and what I hope will begin a discussion on topics that will help you move out of your problems of today and on to the success of tomorrow!

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