Click on the helpful links below to learn more about each legal area in which the Bonville & Howard team specializes.

Divorce & Family Law Firm

Divorce and other family law matters are often stressful, emotional and extremely difficult to navigate without the benefit of a knowledgeable, diligent, successful attorney.  At Bonville & Howard, you will have such highly experienced attorneys and staff who truly care about your domestic situation and will work relentlessly to ensure that your interests and rights are protected from the onset of your case.  The legal team at Bonville & Howard Law Firm is committed to attentive, responsive and compassionate legal representation for all your family law concerns.  We are skilled at working through the emotions and hostility that may arise in domestic relation cases so as to reach a mutually satisfying end result and avoid potential future problems. If an amicable negotiation is not possible in your particular case, we are a formidable trial law firm which is prepared to battle for you in the courtroom.

Bonville & Howard Law Firm has practiced Massachusetts Family Law since 1947. We offer knowledgeable counsel and strong advocacy in your divorce, including contested and non-contested proceedings and with all post-divorce hearings and modifications. In addition to our strong divorce practice, we represent clients in child custody, child support, child visitation, alimony, modifications, contempt of court, restraining order, guardianship, and many other family law matters.

We offer a FREE consultation to review and identify issues in your case.  We will work closely with you from day one and ensure that you are fully informed of all matters affecting your case. Bonville & Howard Law Firm has a strong presence in Worcester and Middlesex family courts, and routinely practices in family courts throughout Central Massachusetts.

Don’t enter the chaos of a divorce or other family law matter alone.  Don’t wait until your rights and interests begin to slip away due to actions of an adversarial spouse or partner.  Act now before any further harm can be done.  Contact us at Bonville & Howard where we will immediately work with you to protect your rights and interest, and to ensure that the best possible outcome for your case is achieved.

Criminal Law

If you have you been arrested, charged with a crime or indicted, or being investigated for a criminal matter, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights.  Don’t gamble with your freedom and personal liberty.  Contact us at Bonville & Howard for a free confidential consultation regarding your case.  With decades of experience in representing individuals successfully in District Court, Superior Court, Federal Court and Appellate Court, you will have highly experienced attorneys on your side defending your rights and providing you peace of mind.

We have a proven track record with successfully defending individuals charged with OUI/DWI, drug offenses, violent crimes, sex offenses, theft, larceny, assault and battery, homicide, gun offenses, breaking and entering, domestic assault, 209A and restraining order violations, armed robbery, rape, motor vehicle offenses, probation violation, arraignment, bail hearing, criminal appeal, revise and revoke, motion for new trial and many other felony and misdemeanor crimes.

For decades, our Criminal Defense team has been successful defending clients that have been charged in Massachusetts with various criminal offenses.  We have an exceptionally high success rate with winning jury and bench trials, dismissal of cases through motions to suppress and negotiating favorable plea bargains.  In many instances, our attorneys have prevented clients from enduring the criminal justice system by successfully addressing matters at criminal clerk magistrate hearings.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free consultation with your criminal legal problems.  From the outset, you will have a clear understanding of your options and legal defenses with the expertise and advice of a highly seasoned criminal defense attorney who will stand by your side and fight for you rights.  Don’t leave your future to chance.  Contact Bonville & Howard immediately and place your future in the hands of criminal defense attorneys with a proven track record and vast courtroom expertise and knowledge, attorneys who fight for you to the end and seek only the best result possible.

Workers Compensation

Have you been injured while on the job and need to know if you qualify for Workers
Compensation?

Have you already filed a worker’s compensation claim and need assistance with the complicated
paperwork and claims process?

Has your workers compensation claim been denied or cut short?

When you are injured at work the workers’ compensation system provides monetary payments
for covered employees who are injured in the course of their employment and also for their
dependents in the unfortunate event of the employee’s death. To qualify an employee must be
disabled for five full or partial calendar days or more. The process can be complicated and your
claim for benefits rejected, or if approved, cut short before you have fully returned to work.
Bonville & Howard, using decades of experience handling worker’s compensation claims can
help you navigate the system in an efficient and capable manner to get benefits that you are
entitled to.

If you feel you have a valid worker’s compensation claim and need assistance please contact
Bonville and Howard here: Contact Email

Additional worker’s compensation info:

Worker’s compensation is a private obligation of the employer and the employer’s insurance
carrier rather than an entity of the state or federal government like Social Security. In
Massachusetts, employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance for their
employees. Generally, payments from the system would cover such areas as weekly wage loss
(60% of your average income, or greater if your injury resulted in a disability), medical care, and
vocational rehabilitation and/or retraining if the injury prevents the worker from returning to
their original job, and death benefits for immediate family members if the worker was killed on
the job. In return for this obligation, an employee is not allowed to sue his or her employer for
any work-related injuries.

The employee can qualify for compensation whether the disability and unemployment has a
short-term or long-term effect.
In most cases, there will be three types of causes for lost wages:

  1. The employee may not be able to continue their employment due to the physical or
    emotional injury, sickness, or death.
  2. The employee may also lose their job due to lay-off or economic dislocation of the
    company.
  3. Finally, the employee may no longer be able to work due to old age or retirement.

It is also important to note that unemployment may also occur from actions that are out of the
employers’ control. This means that it does not have to be a direct occupational hazard. The
amount of compensation any individual is due depends on the unique circumstances of the
individual and the specific set of worker’s compensation principles that apply.
Bonville & Howard can help you with your workers compensation claim no matter what type of
injury you have sustained oi;what industry you are employed:

  • Industrial injuries;
    • Inhaling chemicals, lead exposure, bum injuries;
  • Commercial and truck drivers;
  • Factory and assembly workers;
  • Construction accidents;
    • Ladder and scaffolding injuries, injuries from falling objects, equipment
      malfunction, lifting injuries
  • Nursing/CNA incidents;
  • Prison guards and correctional officers;
  • Retail employees (grocery, other);
  • Office employees;
  • Muscle strains and sprains, repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and
    tendonitis.

Types of disability benefits in Massachusetts:

  • Partial Incapacity Benefits
  • Temporary Total Incapacity Benefits
  • Permanent and Total Incapacity Benefits
  • Medical Benefits
  • Pennanent Loss of Function and Disfigurement Benefits
  • Survivors’ and Dependents Benefits
  • Third Party Lawsuits-You may be entitled to recovery for your injuries above and
    beyond your worker’s compensation claim if your claim involved a third party individual or
    business such as an outside property maintenance company, the manufacturer of equipment you
    might have been injured by, an outside cleaning company, etc.

Bankruptcy Law

It may be a business failure, a medical problem from a serious injury or illness not covered by insurance, a divorce or falling behind on credit card payments.

Hardworking people should not have to be destroyed by debt. If you feel like you cannot pay your bills any longer and you need the fresh start, a bankruptcy proceeding is an honorable way to start over and can give you peace of mind.

  • What kind of Bankruptcy is best for me?

There are currently two forms of bankruptcy used for most individuals: Chapter 7 completely wipes out all dischargeable debts, while Chapter 13 is used to stretch out and reduce the repayment of debts. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is sometimes known as a “straight” bankruptcy. In most cases when we file a Chapter 7 all of the client’s property is classified as exempt, and kept by the debtor. All debts are completely discharged under Chapter 7 except certain taxes, student loans, alimony, child support and fines. While Chapter 7 is usually the best option for our clients there are circumstances when a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy makes more sense. We will complete a financial asset analysis to determine which option is best for you. We also explore non-bankruptcy ways to deal with debt.

  • Can I avoid a Bankruptcy?

Sometimes creditors will reorganize debt without the need for a bankruptcy proceeding. If it this option is possible, we will work to avoid a bankruptcy for a client. We will refer clients to organizations which can reschedule and reduce debt, or we can assist clients in negotiating the debt. If bankruptcy is warranted, we can guide you through the process making it easy and in most cases without losing any of your property.

  • Contact us immediately if you experience the following:

Certain situations require immediate bankruptcy proceedings, such as when the client has had property or bank accounts seized, when a mortgage foreclosure is on the horizon, or when wages are being garnished.

  • Will I ever rebuild my credit?

Most importantly, after bankruptcy it is possible to re-establish credit. There is a financial life after bankruptcy, provided one acts quickly. We can answer any questions you might have regarding bankruptcy and offer a free phone consolation to see if you are a good candidate for Bankrutpcy.

  • How do I know if I should file for bankruptcy?

This answer varies depending on one’s individual circumstances. It will depend upon the status of your dischargeable debts and the nature of your assets. As a general rule, if your total debt has become unmanageable or if you can no longer meet even periodic payments of your debt, it is time to consider seeking relief the bankruptcy laws will provide.

  • Will I lose all of my property if I file bankruptcy?*

The answer is no. In bankruptcy law, there are a series of common exemptions that will keep one from losing all of their possessions. Some examples are as follows:

  • You are allowed to have an interest up to $7,500 in a motor vehicle and $15,000 if used by an elderly person.
  • Personal property and household furnishings may be retained up to a total value of $15,000, as long as one item does not exceed $425 in value.
  • If you own a home and you have what is called a homestead on your house, you may select a state exemption that will allow you to retain up to $500,000 in equity in your home and up to $1,000,000 if the debtors are disabled or over 62.

There can also be additional exemptions but these are just a few of the most common.

  • How does filing bankruptcy affect lawsuits and attachments?

Once a bankruptcy petition has been filed with the court, creditors may not pursue a legal action unless the Bankruptcy Court grants them permission to do so. Usually, if a creditor attaches your home we can void the attachment as part of your bankruptcy.

  • Under what conditions should both the husband and wife file bankruptcy?

If both spouses have debts in common it makes more sense to file bankruptcy together. Otherwise, creditors may pursue legal actions against the non-filing spouse. Also, it usually does not cost more to do a joint bankruptcy.

  • What is the role of an attorney in a consumer bankruptcy case?

An attorney will be able to analyze the amount of debt owed as well as the type of debt owed. This will help determine if one actually should file Bankrutpcy or not. If a filing is deemed necessary, an attorney will advise their clients on the form of bankruptcy that should be filed, file a petition and supporting documents with the court, and attend the first meeting of the creditors. The client(s) must attend a lease one creditor’s meeting, which is scheduled by the U.S. Trustee’s office.

  • Can I eliminate a mortgage by filing bankruptcy?

Under some circumstances a second mortgage can be eliminated by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if the house is worth less than the amount of the first mortgage.

The Legal Support You Need for Personal Injury Claims

In addition to preparing personal injury cases for trial, our lawyers make sure our clients are well taken care of. We can also help you get the care and the resources you need while your lawsuit is pending.

At Bonville & Howard we represent people in a full range of personal injury claims:

•        What to do if you have been in a serious accident

•        Construction accidents

•        Pedestrian, bicycle and RV accidents

•        Nursing home abuse and neglect

•        Wrongful death

•        Premises liability

•        Product liability

•        Injuries to children

•        Claims against federal, state & local government & school districts

Because personal injury can happen anywhere and the injuries many experience are so severe, your personal injury attorney at Bonville & Howard Law will work to make things easier for you.

The Cost of Personal Injury Representation

Many injured people worry about not being able to afford a personal injury lawyer. At Bonville & Howard Law we handle matters of personal injury — car accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death — on a contingency basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees unless you recover compensation for your injury.

Wrongful Death Attorneys

Losing a loved is one of the most difficult situations we face in our lives. If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s fault, negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Most wrongful death claims are based on negligence. As such, it will be necessary to show that the wrongdoer failed to act in a responsible manner and that this caused the death of your loved one. There are an endless number of examples of wrongful death suits and often it can be very difficult and complicated to prove fault. Bonville & Howard has handled a number of wrongful death cases and if we believe someone is at fault our lawyers will do whatever is necessary to prove it.

Who Can File a Claim?

It is important to remember that not everyone who is related to the victim can file a wrongful death claim or recover damages. Massachusetts law allows family members such as a spouse, domestic partner, children, financial dependents of the deceased victim or those who would be entitled to inherit property or assets from the victim.

Wrongful Death Damages

An experienced attorney can also help determine the appropriate damages recoverable in the case. Under Massachusetts law, the plaintiff in a wrongful death case can seek financial compensation for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs. Family members of deceased victims can also seek non-economic damages for loss of care, companionship, comfort, advice and society of their loved one. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side will ensure that wrongful death cases are properly documented and represented. This will help the victims recover fair and full compensation for their losses.

Quality Legal Representation

We know that compensation will never replace your loved one. However, many times the death of a family member can leave others saddled with huge expenses. We can help recover damages for pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses, and the loss of future earnings and other benefits.

If you have recently lost a loved one and feel it could have been prevented, contact our office for a free consultation. We can help determine if you are entitled to compensation.

We will evaluate your case free of charge. In addition, you will not pay any fees or costs unless we recover money for you.

Debt Collection

When you need to collect, count on us to get it done! No Recovery, No Fee

Outstanding invoices can and do cause financial turmoil when they are not paid in a timely manner. Companies of all sizes struggle with collections of some kind or another. When it happens at your company, come to the collection law firm that offers all the expertise of a well established collection law firm with a solid track record of collecting on invoices, medical claims, insurance claims and judgments

Not every collection agency is the same. We have a combined debt volume that has enabled us to staff our office with the most aggressive and successful business collection specialists available anywhere. Our results are the true testimony of our commercial debt collection successes. We use the personnel resources, the latest technology and the proven effective methods to collect what you are owed. These are the keys to fast, effective collection of your accounts.

Do not let those delinquent accounts get any older! If your invoices and calls are being ignored, it may be time for you to give us a call.

Real Estate Lawyers

As real estate attorneys in Fitchburg Massachusetts, Bonville & Howard has experience handling real estate acquisition, disposition and development. Projects include the purchase, entitlement and construction of complex mixed-use developments, retail and shopping mall developments, office buildings, residential communities, apartment and condominium complexes.
The real estate practice has substantial experience in all aspects of zoning and land use issues, eminent domain, condemnation and commercial leasing as well as a wealth of experience in real estate financial transactions, including commercial mortgages, other borrowing and lending transactions, workouts, loan modifications, refinancing and foreclosures.
Our attorneys have significant experience in all aspects of real estate practices in Central Massachusetts from our offices in Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Social Security Disability 

Social Security Disability Claims

The disabilities claim process is complicated and lengthy. At Bonville and Howard we guide our
clients through the claims process and if and when possible, expedite our clients’ claims for
benefits.

There are two different programs under which the Social Security Administration may provide
disability benefits to disabled adults and children.

Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) is funded through the payroll taxes that
individuals pay during most of their working lives if they are employed by non-public
employers. Public employees such as Federal, state, and municipal agencies fund their own
separate disability and retirement programs.

Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a separate program which provides monthly
disability benefits to children and adults who are not insured under SSDI. Those who apply for
SSI must meet the same disability requirements as SSDI applicants and must also lack sufficient
income or assets to meet their needs.

Have you applied yet? This is normally accomplished by going to the local social security office
to speak with a claims representative or you may apply online for SSDI benefits here: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib. You can learn more on how to apply for SSI benefits here: http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/ssi.htm.

Social Security typically takes up to four ( 4) months to process an initial application. Most initial
applications are denied. Applicants have only sixty (60) days from the date of denial to file a
Request for Reconsideration. If your initial application has been denied please contact the
disability lawyers at Bonville and Howard for a free initial case review at 978-345-4144 or email
us at contact@bonvillelaw.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When do I become eligible for disability benefits?
    • a. People who are insured for disability should apply once it becomes likely that
      they will be out of work for at least 12 consecutive months or if they have already
      been out of work for 5 months;
    • Retroactive benefits will be paid for a period of up to one (1) year before the
      application date. For uninsured applicants applying for SSI, eligibility to receive
      them begins as of the date of the application.
  2. How does one qualify for disability benefits?
    • An applicant may qualify for disability benefits by proving from their medical
      records and their testimony that either:
  • 1. They met or exceed a specific impairment listing in the Social Secmity
    Rules; or
  • n. They lack the capacity to work on a regular full time basis in a job that
    exists in the local and national economy.

For more Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the National Organization of Social Security
Representatives page: http:/ /nosscr.org/benefits-overview

ESTATES, TRUSTS, WILLS

Bonville and Howard is a trusted Law Firm helping you with a will. A will is customized to your desires and needs. Having a will insures that your property will be distributed to those whom you choose. Should you die without a will your property is distributed to those designated by Massachusetts Law.

A will allows you to make decisions, rather than forcing state law or a judge to make the decisions for you after your death. You can direct certain items of value or accounts to go to designated persons, including your church or favorite mission society or charity. The government cannot do this without your specific instructions in a properly executed will. You can designate your executor rather than leaving that choice to your heirs and the surrogate court judge. You can minimize fees and taxes with proper estate planning. You can designate a guardian for your children who will raise them in accordance with your beliefs, rather than having the judge make the decision. And you can set up a trust and name your choice of a trustee in your will to distribute your money to your children over many years and under your choice of conditions, rather than giving your children all of their inheritance at age 18 absent a will.

Wills can be changed easily, but it is not something you can do yourself. We draft our wills in a forward-thinking manner so they will not become obsolete in a couple of years. For example our wills usually accommodate younger children that arrive as a young family grows without the need to revise your will. But as circumstances change, as federal and state laws are changed, estate tax laws are amended, your selections of guardians or executors move away or become unsuitable, children become adults, and your net worth increases, it ultimately becomes necessary to make changes in your will with a codicil or perhaps with a new estate plan. We keep up on the ever changing laws so as to adequately advise you when it is necessary to change your estate plans.

Trusts

Sometimes a will is not the best way to go. Some clients need trusts either standing alone or in addition to a will. Trusts can be included in a will, or can be drafted for all sorts of specialized purposes, such as avoiding probate, privacy, eliminating will contests, tax planning, Medicaid planning, educational gifts, and for many other purposes. After we review your estate needs, we can advise you what sort of trust you need, or whether you should forego the separate trust.

Sometimes proper estate plans involve transferring real estate while reserving life estates, gifting, Trusts, powers of attorney, various types of guardianship, and other devices.

If there has been a death close to you, it is likely that you will need to contact an attorney to handle the estate. If there was a will, the process is called “probate.” If there was no will, the court procedure is for “administration.” The first question to ask the lawyer should be: “Do I need to probate the will of the person who died?” or in the case of a death without a will, “Do I need an administration proceeding?” The answer is sometimes, but not always. We will discuss the estate situation with you to determine whether a probate or administration is necessary. If they are not necessary, we will advise you how to avoid them, and how to handle the assets of the deceased without extensive legal proceedings. Even if some estate proceedings are necessary, we may be able to use the “small estates” provisions of the law to make things very simple.

Reliable & Effective Legal Results

Act fast and contact us now to discuss how we can solve your legal needs!