Agricultural industries in the U.S. have changed dramatically over the last fifty years, developing to meet the needs of a growing population and global market while battling many other obstacles. Today’s agricultural industrial complex is equipped to provide abundant food year-round to virtually every community, but because of its structure, it has also made it difficult for family farmers and other family agricultural businesses to stay afloat. For family farmers or family fishermen struggling to make ends meet, Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and assistance to file for Chapter 12 debt repayment bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN. We can help you understand why bankruptcy is a valuable option to recover from financial problems that affect your family and business alike.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code offers Chapter 12 debt repayment bankruptcy as a system tailored to fit the unique requirements and livelihoods of American family farmers and family fishermen. This bankruptcy chapter works similarly to Chapter 13, taking the filer’s debts and income into consideration and, with fairness to the creditors involved, restructuring those debts into a manageable three to five-year repayment plan.
However, Chapter 12 differs from Chapter 13 in several ways that make it more suitable to filers who make their living through their own farming or fishing practices. These benefits range from greater debt allowances to cramming down secured debts, but in order to gain the advantages Chapter 12 debt repayment bankruptcy provides family farmers and family fishermen, you have to qualify to file.
What Makes a Chapter 12 Candidate?
To prevent abuse when filing for debt repayment bankruptcy, the bankruptcy code outlines strict conditions for filers to qualify as family farmers and family fishermen. These requirements include:
- You or you and your spouse together own and operate a commercial farming or fishing enterprise.
- The income you gain from your farm or fishing operation must be over 50% of your total gross income as a household. This is measured from the previous tax year or from the previous three tax years (the latter is only applicable for family farmers).
- The total of your debt directly connected to your operation (property, equipment, seed and supply contracts, vehicles, tax debts, etc.) can’t be higher than $4,153,150 for a farm or $1,924,550 for a commercial fishery or fishing business.
- If you are a family farmer, you must have 50% of all your debts as an individual or household directly connected to your farm.
- If you are a family fisherman, you must have 80% of all your debts as an individual or household directly connected to your fishing enterprise.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify for a Chapter 12 debt repayment bankruptcy, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you examine your finances to determine if the debts and income connected to your farming or fishing operations meet the requirements.
Don’t wait to recover from severe debt and restabilize your family’s farm or fishery. Contact us today at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about your options for Chapter 12 debt repayment bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.