If you are a family farmer or fisherman with excessive debt related to your profession, Chapter 12 bankruptcy can help you get your debt under control and stop collection activities. It enables you to resolve debts by restructuring your business and financial assets while maintaining control over your farming or fishery operations.
At Tom Bible Law, we can help you determine if Chapter 12 is right for you and help you throughout the bankruptcy process. With three Tennessee offices—in Chattanooga, Tullahoma, and Kingsport—we are able to offer experienced counsel and legal representation to residents of Tennessee and North Georgia.
The Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Process
Once you decide to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, you must then file a petition with your local bankruptcy court. Depending on your situation, you must also include specific forms and documents, such as financial documents, tax returns, and a list of creditors. It’s important to ensure that your petition is properly completed and that you submit all the necessary supporting documentation. If not, you risk your petition being rejected by the court.
To be eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, you must meet the following conditions:
- At least half of your gross income for the previous year must have been from farming or fishing
- At least 80% of your debt must be related to your professional farming or fishing operations
- You must earn enough income to be able to make debt payments over a 3- to 5-year period
- You must not owe above a certain amount of debt (varying based on profession)
Chapter 12 Repayment Plans
After filing your petition, you must provide the court-appointed trustee with a complete list of your liabilities and assets within 15 days and meet with them (and potentially your creditors). Within 90 days, you must file a repayment plan, detailing how you intend to pay off your debts. Typically, the repayment plan is income-based and outlines a payment schedule lasting 3 to 5 years, with the specific amount and length of time varying based on your specific situation.
Creditors will also receive notification and can make certain claims on behalf of their interests. The court will review these claims and determine how and when each of your debts should be paid off (whether they should be paid with existing assets or through the repayment plan).
In order to be approved by the court, your repayment plan must meet certain criteria, especially regarding the amounts paid for each type of debt (secured and unsecured) and which debts are given priority in a repayment plan. If a plan does not meet these criteria, the court may request an adjustment hearing, where all parties will negotiate modifications. Once a plan is confirmed, all obligations outlined within it are legally binding on you and the creditor.
Legal Counsel on Chapter 12 Bankruptcy
With decades of legal experience and thousands of successful cases, you can be sure that we’ll do everything we can to help you get the most out of Chapter 12 bankruptcy as a debt relief option. Our team will help you evaluate your situation and legal options, as well as advocate on your behalf during negotiations with creditors and the court concerning the terms of your repayment plan. Whether it’s through Chapter 12 or some other debt relief option, it’s our goal to help you achieve a sustainable financial situation.
If you’re ready to take control of your debt, call (423) 690-7712 to discuss your case with our Chattanooga Chapter 12 bankruptcy lawyers.