The seasons of winter and spring in Minnesota are the most difficult times for farmers who support their households with income from agricultural sources. In fact, it’s a time when bankruptcies filed by family farmers spike across the country. In 1987, Chapter 12 bankruptcy was added to the bankruptcy code to help family farmers recover from extreme financial difficulties through the process of debt restructuring and debt consolidation. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and assistance for farmers who are considering filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN.
The process of Chapter 12 bankruptcy is similar to that of Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, but offers specific benefits tailored to fit the financial circumstances of a family farming household. The process of Chapter 12 takes a filer’s debts and restructures them to create a new payment plan that can last 3 to 5 years. This plan requires a full repayment of priority unsecured debts, such as tax debts, and, generally, a specific percentage (0%-100%) repayment of all other debts.
The outcome of a Chapter 12 bankruptcy case can be decided in one of five ways:
- Converted: If your household income is low enough to pass the Means Test and you have either failed to propose a repayment plan or your proposed plan was not confirmed by the bankruptcy court, you can have your case converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation case.
- Confirmed without discharge: If your repayment plan proposal is accepted, your plan will be confirmed or approved by the bankruptcy court. Depending on the amounts you owe and the types of debts you have, you may not actually receive a discharge of your debts and you may only need the assistance of a chapter 12 bankruptcy proceeding to simply restructure or consolidate your debts.
- Confirmed with discharge: The most common outcome for approved Chapter 12 cases includes a repayment plan that is confirmed by the bankruptcy court and provides for the restructuring or consolidation of some debts and for the discharge or other debts. Debts that are often discharged in a Chapter 12 bankruptcy include medical bills and credit card debts. This is the optimal outcome of a Chapter 12 case.
- Dismissed before confirmation: If your Chapter 12 case is filed in bad faith, or if you have engaged in other fraudulent behavior either before or after your case is filed, your bankruptcy case could be dismissed before you begin the chapter 12 plan confirmation process.
- Dismissed after filing: If you engage in fraudulent behavior within the 3 to 5-year repayment plan period, your plan can be dismissed, even after you successfully get the bankruptcy court to approve or confirm your chapter 12 plan. This can result from a number of different circumstances, for example, if you hide additional income or attempt to convert your case to Chapter 7 in bad faith.
If you’re a local family farmer and struggling to meet debt payments and daily financial obligations, Chapter 12 bankruptcy might be a way to recover. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today for more information about filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN.