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Filing for Chapter 12? What you should know

A Chapter 12 bankruptcy can give many struggling farmers a chance to reorganize their debts, as well as have some additional time to bring them under control.

If you decide to file for Chapter 12, you will need to file with your petition for bankruptcy the following schedules and statements:

  • Liabilities and assets
  • Income and expenditures
  • Your statement of financial affairs

When you file, be prepared to pay $200 to file it and $39 as an administrative fee. If that is a financial strain, you can petition the court to allow you to pay these fees in installments of four or fewer. The final installment should be paid by the 120th day after you filed your petition.

If that is not possible, and you have obtained permission from the court, the installments may be extended up to 180 days after the filing of the petition for bankruptcy. If you fail to pay your fees, your case could be dismissed, and you will still owe all the debts.

It's important that debtors be honest about their financial situations with the trustee and the bankruptcy court. Lying, submitting false financial statements and hiding income can not only get your case tossed out but can land you in a federal prison.

Your Chapter 12 bankruptcy attorney in Tampa will need the following from you:

  • List of creditors and the amount that you owe them
  • Frequency, amount and source of your income
  • List of the property you own
  • Detailed list of your living and farming expenses, including utilities, food, shelter, taxes, medicine, fertilizer, feed costs, transportation, etc.

Filers who are married have to supply all the same information for their spouses regardless of whether the spouse is also filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy relief. This allows the court to fairly evaluate the financial position of the household.

You will have a trustee appointed to your case. This individual will evaluate the merits of your case, collect payments from you and disburse funds to creditors.

In most cases of Chapter 12 bankruptcy, you will attend a meeting of your creditors and supply them with credible answers to questions they may have about your financial situation and your ability to repay them according to the terms of the plan approved by the Florida bankruptcy courts. If there is a problem with the repayment plan on either end, here is where it can usually be resolved.

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