Sunday, May 31, 2015

Are you sitting on a financial time-bomb ticking away on your home?

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Some of my clients end up in my office because they entered into some adjustable rate loan and the payment increases to a point they can no longer pay the debt. I thought the time of these types of mortgages had passed with the 2008 real estate bubble bursting. I may be wrong.

"Millions of consumers will have to absorb a major hit to their household budget in the coming months. About $265 billion in home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) will enter the repayment period in the next few years, according to a study from Experian, and consumers may see their monthly payments spike — in some cases, triple or quadruple what they previously paid." according to

In her article, she talks about how many families used the equity in their homes and have only paid the minimum, interest payments, on these loans. Furthermore, since these loans were opened in 2005 through 2008, real estate values have been stagnate. As a result, owners may have difficulty refinancing their loans. She is predicting a skyrocketing rate of HELOC defaults.

Based on what I am seeing in my practice; houses still underwater, lingering unemployment and under-employment, and many struggling to pay what they have and save a little, I tend to think she is accurate. Are you in this situation? If so, it may be time to plan.

Talk to your finance company to figure out what is going to happen and when. Even if you think you know, confirm it. I cannot tell you how many times people have told me, "it went up more than I expected!" or "I never expected it to go up that much!" If you cannot afford it, look for financing now. If that is not possible or you have time, start working on paying down the principal now.

Whatever action you plan to take, start now. Don't wait for the first payment increase to find out you cannot make the new payment and risk losing your home. Know what you are facing and plan now. If you do not, you may find yourself in an office like mine, discussing bankruptcy, realizing you have less options at that point than you may have now.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Friday, May 29, 2015

Student loans - current events - will anything change?

If you listen, read or watch news on the US economy and finances, you know burden of student loans are believed to be a drag on US economic growth. The burden is worse that other debt because there is no reasonable way to get out from under it. Even a mortgage burden can be lifted by giving up the home. But there is no way to give back an education even if you are not using it.
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This is contrary to all ideas of second chances, fresh starts, or getting back on track with your life. While we, in the US, outlawed debtors prison and indentured servitude early in our history, people in financial trouble with student debt probably feel something close to being in prison or an indenture servant. Think about it, how hard it is to function in our electronic world without credit? Obviously, people do it but I don't think it is easy. The impact of student debt and the cost of school has not gone unnoticed in our government.

Here is a recent article that discusses the issue from Senator Al Franken's perspective:  "Sen. Al Franken: Millions of Americans Are Struggling to Pay Off Student Loan Debt & It’s Damaging Economic Growth" He is joining Senator Elizabeth Warren in her movement to address the student debt crisis. This is worth a read.

 While I don't necessarily agree with all the views of these two political leaders, I believe college costs and debt is out of control. I still pay on my loans and I am 4 years from having my first child enter college. This is an issue for all people in our community. We should become aware of the issue if we are not aware. We should be talking to our political leaders who are not engaged in this discussion.

If your student debt is bogging you down, check the Department of Education website for potential solutions: If student debt is only part or your debt problems, bankruptcy may be worth considering. Don't make that decision alone. Talk to an attorney that can help you understand how bankruptcy might provide some relief.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The adminstration's immigration plan continues to be blocked by the courts ...

Earlier this year, a federal court in Texas stopped the current administration from implementing a decision to have the Department of Homeland Security exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer prosecution of immigration violations of an entire class of people. The Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the lower courts ruling and determined the administration overreached in its authority with its blanket use of prosecutorial discretion. As a result, the administration's plan to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) remain stayed by the court and will require action further action by the Administration, the Supreme Court or Congress. The DACA program started in 2012 remains unaffected.
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman

For more news and information on this ruling you can follow the links below:

"Federal appeals court deals blow to President Obama’s amnesty"  - Washington Post

"Appeals court rules with states challenging Obama's immigration action" - Yahoo News

"STATEMENT: U.S. Court of Appeals Denies Request to Stay Injunction Currently Blocking DAPA and Expanded DACA Implementation"

If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out my website at

#BucksCounty #Immigration #lawyer #lawyers, #MontgomeryCounty #Souderton #Law_Firm

Monday, May 25, 2015

Using a home equity loan to pay credit cards - from the pan into the fire ...

Whenever I see advertisements offering home equity loans and suggesting people use the loans to pay credit card debt, I cringe. If you are thinking about doing this, there is chance you are already in serious financial trouble. By using your home to refinance your credit card debt, you are betting your home you will be able to pay it off.  If you lose that bet, you stand a good chance of losing your home.

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Credit cards are usually unsecured debt. That means they do not place a lien against any property. Your promise to pay is the only thing the credit card company has. These are the type of debts that can easily be discharged in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and the debtor does not risk the loss of any property.

When you use a home equity loan to pay off the debt, you pledge your house against the new debt.

Once you complete the transaction, the bank has an interest in your home. If you fail to pay the new debt, the creditor can foreclose on your home to recover the debt. Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 will not protect you from this debt and protection under Chapter 13 may be limited.

If you are thinking about using your home to refinance your credit cards, consider carefully. Ask yourself if you are in deeper financial trouble than you have admitted or realized. Be careful you don't dig your hole any deeper.

If you are still going to consider using your house to pay down unsecure debt, this article gives you a couple other things to consider - "Using Equity in your Home to Pay Credit Card Debt…A Good Idea?" -

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bankruptcy Exemptions - what are they?

Many clients come in fearful they will be forced to give up everything they own in order to file bankruptcy. But that is far from the truth. In many cases consumer bankruptcy debtors can keep everything they own. The purpose of bankruptcy is to get people back on their feet ... not to leave them destitute. As a result, the law allows them to keep certain property through exemptions.

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I explain it as the law allows you to keep different "buckets" of property. The buckets will hold certain amounts of property for different types of property. For instance, the law gives you an exemption for furniture. The bucket for furniture and household goods will hold a little over $12,000 worth of household items. So we look at the value of the clients' furniture to see how much fits into that bucket. Most of the time everything fits in and they get to keep everything. The law provides buckets/exemptions for all types of property including equity in a house. It is a matter of analyzing the debtor's asset and sorting them into the buckets.

You do not lose all your property when you file bankruptcy. Exemptions help protect enough property to assist debtors get back on their feet. This is part of the protection provided through the bankruptcy laws.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Friday, May 15, 2015

Veterans and Military Members, financial institutions are not our friends ...

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This isn't a bad thing but everyone really needs to understand what these institutions are offering. Night after night during prime-time TV, I watch ads for banks and lenders that have "special offers" for veterans and drive out any main gate of most bases and you will see signs all over offering military loans. The TV ads are steeped in patriotism and talk about the receiving what you have earned. They also have retired military officers and enlisted spokespeople hawking their services. It all sounds great and some organizations are better than others.

But it is important to understand what these organizations are offering. They are offering access to money. They are not offering protection. The programs do not offer any special protection if you fall on hard times. The banks and lenders will take legal action against a veteran or service member just like every other borrower.

Remember, these institutions are not people; they have no soul, no heart, no sense of patriotism... they are organizations created for one reason ... existing for one reason ... and that is to make money. And when it comes to money, we, veterans and military members, are a good bet.

We are a good bet because we tend to have stable income, we have a sense of duty and commitment to our word, we have been trained to overcome adversity, we are more disciplined than many others, and, even more important, the US government guarantees a big chunk of our mortgages and debts through VA Loans and, I believe, SBA loans for veterans. So the banks and finance companies are willing to lend us their money expecting a more stable return even if the interest is a little lower.

But if we fall on hard financial times and fail to meet our obligations, the creditors will come for us. I do not know of many safety nets programs created especially for veterans. I've seen on social media where military members are losing or lost their homes venting because they believe there are programs out there to protect other segments of our community but not us.

First, those diversionary programs are open to everyone. You should also know those protection programs fail the average civilian as often as they fail veterans and military members. From what I have witnessed in my practice, sometimes the programs work and people can streamline or refinance their mortgage and sometimes they get eaten up by the bureaucracy and forced out of their homes too. So, again, we are all in the same boat.

With that said, these loans are a benefit. We gain access to loans that would otherwise not be available. We can buy a home and start a business. We just need to be smart about it.  We need to evaluate how much we can afford to pay, weigh the risks of deployment, recognize some of us are still subject to transfers, and others need to understand that they now have a fixed income. We were trained to plan too.

If all your planning fails and you find yourself in financial trouble, I have a couple suggestions. First of all, I would be reluctant to refinance my home or take out a home equity line of credit  (HELOC) to pay off credit cards. That turns unsecured debt into secured debt and places your home at a higher risk of being lost. Also, avoid raiding your TSP. Retirement accounts are protected by federal and usually state laws.

Don't put off the inevitable. If you have trouble look for help immediately; look to the military aid societies, local and national charities, local and county services. If these services are not available or insufficient to help you, start looking at your legal options. First you can look to a debt management service. They can help establish a budget and work with creditors to reduce interest, service charges, and penalties. I would avoid debt settlement companies. They can create  bigger mess before they settle your debt.

Finally, if all else fails, bankruptcy is an option. For filing under chapter 7, military members who came to this point because of active duty commitments are not subject to the means test. Chapter 7 is used to quickly discharge unsecured debt and give people a fresh start. If your mortgage is current, you can usually keep your home.

If you are behind in your mortgage and you want to keep your home, you may be able to file for protection under chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code. This can allow you to establish a payment plan to catch up your mortgage. Believe it or not, bankruptcy can protect you and get you back on track.

While our financial institution can provide us access to loans, we cannot expect them to protect us if things go wrong. We need to rely on ourselves ... our training ... our character to get us through the hard times. If that doesn't work, we must seek help in our community or in the law. The quicker we do so, the better the chances we can minimize the damage.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out our website at

Previous Blog Entries:
Rebuilding credit after Bankruptcy...

When will I be able to buy a new home after bankruptcy?

You can overcome bankruptcy...

Debt What?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

USCIS Announcement - TPS Registration Deadline for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone is May 20, 2015

Direct from USCIS Bulletin:

“Wednesday, May 20, 2015, is the deadline for eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries) to register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The TPS designation runs from Nov. 21, 2014, through May 21, 2016.

To be eligible for TPS, you must demonstrate that you meet all eligibility criteria, including that you have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014, and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014. You must also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS.

Additionally, you may apply for TPS even if you are a Liberian national currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum. If you are a DED-covered Liberian national and you have an EAD or have applied for an EAD, you do not need to apply for another EAD related to this TPS designation. However, if you are granted TPS, you may request a TPS-related EAD at a later date as long as the TPS designation for Liberia remains in effect.

To register, you must submit:

Fees and Fee Waivers

If you cannot pay the fee, you may request that we waive the Form I-765 application fee or biometrics fee. However, you must file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submit a written request. You must also send in supporting documentation with your fee-waiver request. We will reject your TPS application if you do not submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

Additional information about TPS for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone —including guidance on eligibility, the application process and where to file—is available at

This Web alert is also available in French.

[La date d’échéance d’inscription pour le TPS concernant le Libéria, la Guinée et la Sierra Leone est le 20 mai 2015

Le mercredi 20 mai 2015  sera la date d’échéance pour les ressortissants éligibles du Libéria, de la Guinée et de la Sierra Leone (et pour les personnes apatrides qui ont résidé en dernier lieu dans l’un de ces trois pays) concernant l’inscription pour le Statut de Protection Temporaire (Temporary Protected Status ou TPS). La désignation TPS fonctionne du 21 novembre 2014 au 21 mai 2016.

Pour être éligible au TPS, vous devez démontrer votre qualification aux critères d’éligibilité, y compris le fait que vous avez « résidé de manière continuelle » aux États-Unis depuis le 20 novembre 2014 et que vous avez été « continuellement et physiquement présent » aux États-Unis depuis le 21 novembre 2014. Vous devez également passer des vérifications complètes de sécurité. Les personnes avec certains casiers judiciaires ou bien posant une menace à la sécurité nationale ne sont pas éligibles au TPS.

Par ailleurs, vous pouvez faire la demande de TPS, même si vous êtes un ressortissant libérien couramment sous l’effet de la prolongation de deux ans de la Déportation Forcée Différée (Deferred Enforced Departure ou DED) basée sur le mémorandum du Président Obama en date du 26 septembre 2014. Si vous êtes un ressortissant libérien couvert par la DED et que vous avez un EAD (Permis de Travail) ou que vous avez déposé une demande d’EAD, vous n’avez pas besoin de demander un autre EAD relatif à cette désignation TPS. Toutefois, si le TPS vous est accordé, vous pouvez faire la demande d’EAD lié au TPS à une date ultérieure, dès lors que la désignation du TPS pour le Libéria demeure en vigueur.

Comment s’inscrire
Pour vous inscrire, vous devez fournir :

  • Le formulaire I-821, Demande de Statut de Protection Temporaire.
  • Les frais de services biométriques (ou une demande d’exemption de ces frais) si vous êtes âgé de 14 ans ou plus.
  • Le formulaire I-765, Demande de Permis de Travail, indépendamment du fait que vous voulez ou non un EAD.
  • Les frais de demande liés au formulaire I-765 ou une demande d’exemption de ces frais, mais seulement si vous voulez un EAD. Si vous ne voulez pas d’EAD, aucun frais de demande ne s’applique. Il n’y a pas de frais liés au formulaire I-765 pour les postulants pour la première fois âgés de moins de 14 ans, ou de 66 ans et plus ; ces postulants peuvent recevoir leurs premières cartes d’EAD gratuitement.
Frais et exemptions des frais
Si vous ne pouvez pas payer les frais, vous pouvez demander une exemption des frais de demande associés au formulaire I-765 ou aux services biométriques. Toutefois, vous devez remplir et déposer le Formulaire I-912, Demande d’Exemption des Frais ou remettre une demande par écrit. Vous devez aussi envoyer la documentation à l'appui de votre demande d’exemption des frais. Votre demande de TPS sera refusée si vous ne remettez pas les frais de demande obligatoires ou une demande correctement documentée d’exemption des frais.

D’autres informations sur le TPS concernant le Libéria, la Guinée et la Sierra Leone—y compris des directives sur l’éligibilité, le processus de demande et où déposer la demande—sont à votre disposition à

Cet avis sur le web est également disponible en anglais.]

If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out my website at
#BucksCounty #Immigration #lawyer #lawyers, #MontgomeryCounty #Souderton #Law_Firm

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Who files for Bankruptcy?

Who files for Bankruptcy protection? I know most of my clients think it is not people like them. They believe this law is for the less fortunate or abused by people less scrupulous. Most of my clients feel they did something very wrong to be in my office. Those beliefs just add to their embarrassment.

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The truth is my clients come from all walks of life. I have worked with 20-something couples to a 70-something widower. I've had clients who worked in industries and professions such as pharmaceuticals, real estate, banking, insurance, and law. I had one client that was able to avoid creditors for over 12 years and others who were completely up to date on all their bills but nearing financial collapse.

The one thing most of them have in common was a major life event ... a serious medical issue ... a prolonged bout of unemployment or underemployment ... and/or ... divorce. Many times they have spent all their saving, have debts with their families, and have wiped out their retirement accounts if they had any.

Unfortunately, people wait too long to file because, they feel, they are not the type of person who should or does file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws allow exemptions people can use to protect retirement accounts and other assets. Many people never give themselves a chance to use the most of their exemptions because they spent down their savings and sold their stuff.

We have all heard the saying, "There but for the grace of God, go I." A truer statement could not be spoken when it comes to bankruptcy. This law exists to help people get back on their feet after they have suffered a devastating financial set-back. Those are the people I help file for bankruptcy protection. When talking to other bankruptcy attorneys, they see clients with the same problems in their practices.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out my website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

USCIS Announcement - Immigration Relief Measures for Nepali Nationals

Direct from USCIS Bulletin:
"USCIS has several immigration relief measures that may be available to Nepali nationals who are affected by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.

Measures that may be available to eligible Nepali nationals upon request include:
  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • A grant of re-parole;
  • Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
  • Consideration for waivers of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications, based on an inability to pay; and
  • Assistance replacing lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as Permanent Resident Cards (green cards).
To learn how to request relief or more about how USCIS assists customers affected by unforeseen circumstances in their home country, visit or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for the hearing impaired: 1-800-767-1833)."

If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out my website at
#BucksCounty #Immigration #lawyer #lawyers, #MontgomeryCounty #Souderton #Law_Firm

Saturday, May 2, 2015

USCIS - New process - Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals, who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, to apply for a waiver in the United States and before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

The new process is expected to shorten the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.

For more information from USCIS -

If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out my website at
#BucksCounty #Immigration #lawyer #lawyers, #MontgomeryCounty #Souderton #Law_Firm