Is Your Business Facing Chapter 12 Bankruptcy?

Many individuals and businesses face financial trouble at some point and many file for bankruptcy to find relief from overwhelming debts. However, farmers and fisherman may have unique issues when it comes to bankruptcy due to the nature of the agricultural industry and the potential effects of financial distress on their livelihood.

It is understandable that fishermen and farmers may hit bumps in the road and have difficulty paying the debts of the business. Call Michael Siddons at 610-255-7500 today for a consultation to save your family farm.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy was created by Congress in 1986 and became a permanent part of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 2005. This type of bankruptcy is specifically tailored to help struggling farmers and fishermen and to allow them to take care of their debts without sacrificing their farming or fishing operation. This type of bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, but has more restrictions and also more potential benefits than for a Chapter 13 filer. Generally speaking, this type of bankruptcy costs less and is simpler than other types of reorganization bankruptcy.

Before you file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, attorney Michael Siddons can help to make sure you qualify for this kind of bankruptcy under the law. The following are criteria for filing under Chapter 12:

  • You are an individual, married couple, partnership, or corporation;
  • You participate in a fishing or farming operation;
  • More than half of your gross income comes from fishing or farming;
  • Except for mortgages on your home, at least 80 percent of your debts must be from your business if you are a fisherman or 50 percent if you are a farmer;
  • Your total debts may not exceed about $1.8 million for fishermen or $4 million for farmers;
  • For corporations or partnerships, more than half of the business interests must be owned by a single family.

As you can see, this type of bankruptcy is truly aimed at helping family-run farms and fishing businesses.

As in other types of bankruptcy, you must prepare and file a bankruptcy petition to initiate your case along with substantial supporting paperwork regarding your debts, income, and other assets. Once you file, the court will order all creditors to cease collection efforts by issuing an automatic stay. This can provide instant relief from your debts. In addition, the automatic stay in a Chapter 12 case also applies to debts jointly owned by people who are not involved in the bankruptcy, which is not the case in other types of bankruptcy.

If you proceed with your Chapter 12 bankruptcy, your debts will be reorganized and there will be one consolidated monthly payment that goes through the courts and not directly to your creditors. The court will then distribute your payment to your creditors in accordance with your repayment plan, which will last for three to five years depending on your situation. After you complete your payment plan, any qualifying debts that remain can be discharged by the courts, which can leave you with a relatively clean financial slate.

Throughout your case, a bankruptcy trustee will review all information submitted to the court, monitor your business operations, collect payments and distribute them appropriately to creditors, and communicate with the court regarding your case. Overall, Chapter 12 bankruptcy can be relatively straightforward, though many legal issues can arise to complicate your case.

The first step in figuring out whether Chapter 12 bankruptcy is the right solution to save your family farm or fishery is to discuss your case with a highly experienced Chapter 12 bankruptcy attorney. Because this type of bankruptcy is relatively rare and has many different restrictions and requirements, it is critical to have the best representation possible by an attorney who fully understands how Chapter 12 works. Please do not hesitate to call the law offices of Michael Siddons today at 610-255-7500 for more information about how Chapter 12 bankruptcy can help you, your business, and your family.

Types of Financial Distress Faced by Family Farmers and Fisherman

Farming and fishing are important but challenging industries. Success largely depends on the state of the economy and often farmers and fishermen fall into financial trouble for reasons beyond their control. There is no shame in having your farm or fishing business go through a difficult time as many others are in the same situation and there is relief under the law.

Causes of financial distress Agricultural operations can experience severe financial distress for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • Fluctuating land values -Farmland is usually the most important asset of a farm operation and often is used as a collateral for loans. If the value of the farmland drops, debt can spiral out of control. There is a boom-and-bust cycle of land values that can significantly affect the financial situation of farmers.
  • Decline in profits -With the newer trend of people growing their own food, the prices of agricultural commodities will decrease. Decreasing prices mean fewer profits and less income for farm or fishing operations.
  • Government cuts -The government spends billions of dollars in supporting farms across the U.S. However, with the recent emphasis on reducing federal spending, Congress may dedicate fewer resources to bolster the income of farms.

The above factors can lead to many different types of financial distress for farmers and fishermen. They can have debt stemming from equipment, land, vehicles, and more that they are unable to pay. Farmers and fishermen experiencing financial distress may also be unable to pay for decent labor, which can lead to a serious decrease in production of the farm, which can then lead to a decrease in income. These problems can compound on one another until a farm or commercial fishing operation is on its way to becoming insolvent.

Chapter 13

Hire a Farm and Fisherman Bankruptcy Attorney

While there is no requirement that you must have legal representation in your Chapter 12 bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy process can be confusing and involves many deadlines and requirements. All information provided to the court must be complete and accurate, otherwise you risk having your case dismissed or even being accused of misleading the bankruptcy court.

An experienced Chapter 12 bankruptcy lawyer can help you in many ways throughout your case to ensure the best possible results for your family farm or fishing operation. The following are some ways lawyer Michael Siddons can help you:

  • Evaluate your financial situation and advise whether bankruptcy is a good solution for you;
  • Determine whether you qualify under Chapter 12;
  • Help you prepare a thorough and accurate petition with all of the necessary documentation;
  • Help you propose a favorable payment plan that you can afford and still provide for the needs of your business and family;
  • Represent you in any court hearing, which can be intimidating, and communicate with the court and trustee on your behalf;
  • Provide guidance throughout the entire bankruptcy process and ensure you receive a discharge at the end of your case.
Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

I need to find a farm and fisherman attorney

If you have never dealt with the legal system before, finding an attorney can be a challenging process. An internet search will yield thousands of results for possible bankruptcy attorneys and you may not know where to begin in choosing the right one for your case.

As a top farm and fisherman attorney, Michael Siddons is committed to protecting the rights of family farmers and fisherman. We know that you can find relief from debt and preserve the success of your farm at the same time and we will always strive for the most favorable results in your Chapter 12 bankruptcy case.

For more information about Chapter 12 Bankruptcy and to find out if it's right for your business, call Mike Today!

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is a major decision, especially for someone who owns their own farm or fishing operation. Your finances can directly impact the success of your farm and your ability to remain in business. If you lose your farm, you can lose the ability to support your family and may also lose your home, vehicles, and other assets and property.

Farming Business

Affordable family farmer attorney

Many people are hesitant to call an attorney for any reason because they are concerned about the costs of representation. Bankruptcy lawyer Michael Siddons understands that if you are considering bankruptcy, you are already in a tough financial situation and do not want to add any more bills or expenses to your plate. However, we also know how much Chapter 12 bankruptcy can help your situation and so we are dedicated to providing high-quality bankruptcy representation for a reasonable and affordable fee. Initial consultations are always free and confidential with no obligation, so you have nothing to lose by calling the law offices of Michael Siddons at 610-255-7500 for help today.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Eligibility
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHAPTER 12 BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS, CONTACT US TODAY