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Bankruptcy News & Recent Cases

Handling Consumer Debts Gained after You File Your Petition for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN

February 9th, 2019 · No Comments

With the decline that our economy has seen over the past six months, it’s not surprising that many individuals and businesses have had to take on more debt or have had difficulties meeting their debt payments. If you have been struggling to make monthly ends meet, and have been for some time, it may be beneficial for you to consider the debt relief filing for bankruptcy can provide. For those with stable incomes who want to retain their properties, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a valuable option. Behm Law Group, Ltd., provides legal advice and assistance for individual consumers and business owners who want to take full advantage of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN.

Because Chapter 13 bankruptcy works as a reorganization process, it restructures your debts into a repayment plan with scheduled monthly payments lasting three to five years. This repayment plan is designed to fit your budget and can effectively resolve the majority of your debts without you having to lose any of your property.

Although Chapter 13 bankruptcy is supposed to fit your financial circumstances while allowing you to operate on a daily basis, it can make your spending limitations extremely tight. Sometimes it may be necessary to incur even more debt during the three to five years you spend within a Chapter 13 plan. Fortunately, it’s possible you can roll these new debts into your current repayment plan, allowing for a more manageable structure in the payment of all your debts together.

 

Post-Petition Debt Types

The debts you are allowed to incur while in a Chapter 13 plan that won’t force your case to be dismissed are tax debts and consumer debts.

  • Tax debts may be treated as priority debts (and must be repaid in full) if your creditors petition for priority claim status.
  • Consumer debts are only allowed as post-petition spending if you receive court approval. The court often approves post-petition debts if they are incurred on behalf of your household well-being (not for your business).

If you fail to get court approval to incur a post-petition debt, you will be required to pay it outside of your Chapter 13 repayment plan. If you do get court approval, however, you can later request to have the debt rolled into your repayment plan as a priority, secured, or unsecured debt depending on the type of agreement between you and the creditor. To have the debt included in your plan, your creditor and trustee must each accept your request, and your creditor must submit a proof of claim and a statement of agreement.

 

If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, and want to learn more about post-petition debts or how a repayment plan is structured, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd., at (507) 387-7200 today.

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Farms and Other Local Midwest Food Suppliers File for Chapter 12 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

February 4th, 2019 · No Comments

Farming is a notoriously difficult profession even with the knowledge, tools, and power agriculturalists have access to today. Throughout the ages, farmers have faced challenges with the weather, soil conditions, seed fertility, plant diseases, pests, economy crashes, and many other variables. With all the hardships farmers face, it’s incredible there are so many strong people who still choose this vocation, and we have those hard workers to thank for the abundance of food in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country.

 

However, many farmers still face extreme financial hardship, and it’s no surprise that many find themselves deep in significant debt connected to their crop, livestock, or fishing operations. If you’re having difficulties as a family farmer or fisher, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you find your way out of severe debt by filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

 

With the large spread of farmland dotting the countryside between Mankato and other cities in southern Minnesota, there are many local people living in our communities that took on farming as a profession. Unfortunately, this year has marked a rise of farm debts, not just in Minnesota, but across the Midwest as a whole.

 

Why Farm Debts Are on the Rise

 

Sometimes described as a “slow bleed” of independent farms in the face of low dairy, crop, fish, and meat prices, the debts of family farmers and fishers are not matched by the income they receive from product sales. When independent farms are higher in geographic concentration, as they often are, the trickle of each small farmer’s debts turns into a river of severe financial crisis. If this happens to a community, no matter how widespread, bankruptcy is a highly valuable solution. When farmers and fishers take advantage of the assistance filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy provides, it serves as a true system of recovery and healing for agricultural communities.

 

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

 

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is a debt relief option offered to family farmers and fishers who earn over 50% of their income from agricultural or fishing operations. If you file for Chapter 12, you are provided with a system of bankruptcy that reorganizes and restructures your debts in a manageable repayment plan suited to your income. This bankruptcy repayment plan is spread over a period of three to five years and allows for fluctuations in your income with the growing and harvest seasons. Not only does Chapter 12 give farmers and fishers a way to repay their debts without losing their land, home, agricultural equipment, and overall livelihood, it also provides protection against creditor harassment.

 

Farm debt may be on the rise due to several conditions in the food industry today, but there are solutions. Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN is one option that many can use to recover in the long-term from agricultural debt. To learn more about bankruptcy and debt relief, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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Resolving a No-Asset Case with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Worthington, MN

January 30th, 2019 · No Comments

If you own a car or house, you are like most other U.S. citizens in the fact that you possess an asset. Additionally, your property may be like most others if it’s tied to a loan agreement. Because of the high cost of housing and vehicles as well as many other necessary or luxury properties, financing agreements are quite common, and there are a range of ways you can enter into these agreements. While loans are very useful for you to acquire what you need in your daily life, they can also pose problems if you are unable to repay your debts. Behm Law Group, Ltd., can help you recover from burdensome debts and protect your property from liquidation by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Worthington, MN.

 

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem drastic, but in the long term, it can actually be one of the most effective ways to recover from onerous debts that you could struggle with for much longer if you didn’t file for bankruptcy. Though there are compromises you have to face in the process of filing for bankruptcy, the overall advantages can greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal process through which your non-exempt assets (properties) are liquidated (sold). The money from the liquidation/sale process is then distributed by the chapter 7 trustee administering your case to repay some dividend to your creditors (lenders), and in return, your debts are discharged (dissolved). However, because the U.S. Bankruptcy Court does not want to leave people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy destitute and unable to reorganize and contribute to the national economy, it allows filers to claim exemptions on their properties.

 

These exemptions protect certain values or equitable interests as to your properties, from your home to your car to some luxury items. Because of the allowances your claims to exemptions provide, most Chapter 7 individual consumer cases are considered “no-asset” cases because the bankruptcy exemptions are typically sufficient to protect any values or equitable interests that you have in those assets.

 

No-Asset Cases

While there are technically assets involved in virtually every Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, your trustee and the court take the exemptions you claim into consideration when determining a no-asset case. Simply put, if your claimed exemptions don’t allow the liquidation of major asset values, your trustee will not pay your creditors anything.

 

This means your trustee won’t get paid any additional amounts from your case beyond his or her typical per case fee of $60.00. It’s similar to the situation of salespeople who are paid commission on top of base wages when they make a sale. If they don’t make a sale, they aren’t paid any extra commission wages.

 

Your trustee may also consider your case to be no-asset if the majority of your properties are exempt from the bankruptcy process. From the perspective of bankruptcy filers, a no-asset case usually bodes well because they will be able to protect their property from liquidation.

 

If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Worthington, MN, and want to learn more about exemptions, assets, and liquidation, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd., today at (507) 387-7200.

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Why Post-Holiday Debt Can Be a Real Reason to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

January 28th, 2019 · No Comments

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for many households. It can be a time when love and kindness pair with quality family time and a break from the regular work schedule. However, because it’s also the time of year when we spend the most money, it can be one of the most difficult times for some who have little to spare.

 

Food, gifts, decorations, and travel expenses make up the bulk of most consumer’s spending from October to January. The time from Halloween to the New Year fills a quarter of the year when spending can be out of control. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we understand the financial pressure you may experience during the holidays, and we know from experience with other clients that post-holiday debt is a perfectly valid reason to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to restructure your debts under the administration of a bankruptcy trustee. This restructuring turns your unmanageable debts into a repayment plan that fits your income and benefits you and creditors alike.

 

The primary way most individuals pay for holiday expenses is with a credit card. As many know, credit cards have some of the highest interest rates compared to any other debts you can incur. With the amount most people spend around the holidays, it’s inevitable that large credit card debt amounts are vastly increased from October to January across the country. Annual post-holiday debt surveys show that the average consumer spends upwards of $1,000 during the holidays, and many predict that amount will increase each year.

 

While it’s easy to get carried away with holiday spending, it’s much harder to come back from credit card debt in the long-term. Struggling with the weight of excessive interest rates can be remedied with a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a highly effective process for those with a steady income, a family to support, and a desire to protect all their properties from the liquidation that occurs in a Chapter 7 case. When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, your creditors have an automatic stay placed on their ability to collect debt, and you can begin building an appropriate repayment plan that will last three to five years.

 

The debts involved in your repayment plan are treated based on the loan agreements you made with your creditors (secured, unsecured, or priority). Because credit card debt is unsecured debt, it is most likely to be discharged up to 100% in a repayment plan.

Find Professional Help when Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Holiday spending is hard to avoid, but a reasonable amount of spending that fits into your budget can be a great way to add cheer to your holiday season. However, if you find yourself struggling with post-holiday debt on top of other debts, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN might be the right choice for you. To learn more about bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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When, Why, and How You Can File for Emergency Bankruptcy in Marshall, MN

January 28th, 2019 · No Comments

Filing for bankruptcy can be a highly beneficial remedy for severe consumer or business debt. While the majority of benefits gained from bankruptcy are long-term, filers will see an immediate benefit gained from the protection of the automatic stay. When you file your bankruptcy petition, a stay preventing your creditors from collecting payments from you will automatically be put into place. In some situations, filers may need to speed up the process leading up to the automatic stay by filing for an emergency bankruptcy. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides the counsel you need to build a strong case and the guidance you need to determine if you should file for an emergency bankruptcy in Marshall, MN.

Filing for an emergency bankruptcy gives you automatic stay protection from creditors sooner than a standard bankruptcy. The process is completed online with fewer forms and less paperwork than a typical bankruptcy case would require, but an emergency bankruptcy can only be filed if your situation meets certain circumstances.

 

When and why?

You can file an emergency bankruptcy if you would not be able to complete the full paperwork before an event that will directly affect your case occurs. For example:

  • you have an impending foreclosure
  • you are facing repossession
  • your wages will be garnished
  • you have a collection lawsuit

There may be other events that could allow you to file an emergency bankruptcy, but they must be time-sensitive issues. You will also be required to complete and file the rest of the bankruptcy papers within 14 days after filing an emergency bankruptcy.

 

How?

To file an emergency bankruptcy, you must complete a set of online forms and meet some other requirements, including:

  • filling out the primary bankruptcy petition document that covers your general information, which chapter you are filing for, and your identity information
  • a list of your creditors, including their names and addresses
  • your certificate of completion for the credit counseling requirement
  • payment of the filing fee, or an application to have the fee waived or paid in an installment plan

 

Behm Law Group, Ltd. attorneys can help you work through the steps of filing for an emergency bankruptcy in Marshall, MN or filing a standard Chapter 13, 7, or 12 case. To learn more about our counsel in filing for bankruptcy or to get started with us today, contact our office at (507) 387-7200.

 

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Debt and Stress: How Filing for Bankruptcy Can Make You Healthier with Prescribed Debt Relief in Jackson, MN

January 22nd, 2019 · No Comments

Whenever we kick off a new year, most of us take a look at our lives with the intention of finding a way to improve ourselves, relationships, living conditions, careers, and many other areas of our lives. One area many of us can look to improve is our financial well-being. Because the majority of us hold some type of debt such as a mortgage, credit card debt, car loan, medical bill, or otherwise, rethinking our financial situation can be an effective approach to improving our lives with a new year resolution. If you’re struggling with your finances, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you get long-term debt relief in Jackson, MN by filing for individual consumer or business bankruptcy.

 

Filing for bankruptcy is a highly effective way to recover from financial difficulties, but getting debt relief is valuable in more ways than one. Because financial struggles and debt are one of the leading causes of underlying stress for people across the country, filing for bankruptcy can seriously relieve both debt and stress in your day-to-day life.

 

Debt and Stress

 

When you have debts that become more and more unmanageable over time, you’re dealing with a legal responsibility that creates a similar type of stress as other negative life conditions including the death of a loved one, chronic illness, social stigma and bias, or mental illness. Dealing with the stress of debt can significantly increase your exposure to difficult emotional problems resembling those created by other traumatic life experiences, including:

 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Resentment
  • Decline in physical health

 

These emotional states and a stress-related decline in physical health can also put a strain on your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. These stress factors can also compromise your career and make each day more difficult in general.

 

Filing for bankruptcy is an option any individual consumer or business can use to recover from severe debt. As a government-structured process that treats your debts in a way designed to be fair to all parties involved, bankruptcy is a realistic option for many struggling with accumulated or unexpected debt.

Find Professional Help when Filing for Bankruptcy

If you’re feeling the stress of unmanageable debt, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today to learn more about filing for bankruptcy and getting debt relief in Jackson, MN.

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Federal Exemptions and Non-Bankruptcy Exemptions Outlined within Bankruptcy Code in Owatonna, MN

January 18th, 2019 · No Comments

If you are struggling with overwhelming debt as an individual or business owner, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best way to resolve those debts in a government-approved legal process. Chapter 7 is the most frequent type of bankruptcy for both individuals and businesses with extreme debts and low incomes. If you choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can free yourself from a wide range of financial obligations, including anything from credit card debt to past-due medical bills. Behm Law Group, Ltd., offers legal advice and guidance to help you work through the process of filing and to help you understand the workings of bankruptcy code in Owatonna, MN.

Basic information to know about Chapter 7

 

  • To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the Means Test (your income must be lower than the state median for a household of your size or be unbalanced by your debt ratio)
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy code outlines the process of liquidation of assets (selling properties to gain a value that is used to repay your creditors) in exchange for debt discharge (dissolving the debts tied to the properties sold).
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy code also provides some protection for your properties in the form of exemptions (exemptions allot certain amounts you can claim on your home, car, and other properties that protect them from liquidation)

 

Exemption amounts are determined by federal and state bankruptcy laws, and in Minnesota, you can request state or federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you file for federal bankruptcy exemptions, you can claim Title 11 U.S. government allotted amounts (e.g., you can claim $23,675 on your home as of 2018). If you file for state exemptions, you can claim Minnesota Statute allotted amounts (e.g., $390,000 for your home as of 2018).

In some cases, it will be more beneficial for filers to choose state exemptions because they will typically have more wiggle room and because they can claim additional federal non-bankruptcy exemptions.

Federal non-bankruptcy exemptions cover a wide range of miscellaneous assets you may want to protect in a Chapter 7 liquidation process. These include:

 

  • retirement benefits for military, civil, and foreign service, and pensions for veterans, social security, railroad workers, CIA employees, and Medal of Honor recipients
  • death and disability benefits for government employees, longshoremen, and harbor workers as well as war, hazard, death, or risk compensation
  • survivor’s benefits for military, court, and lighthouse workers
  • miscellaneous benefits ranging from military deposits to savings accounts to certain Native American tribe homesteads

 

When it comes to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it can be difficult to navigate through the exemption claiming process and the bankruptcy code as a whole. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd., at (507) 387-7200 today to learn more about the filing process and bankruptcy code in Owatonna, MN.

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Understanding Adversary Proceedings and How to Work Through Them with the Help of a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Mankato, MN

January 2nd, 2019 · No Comments

When you take on a loan agreement of any kind, you’re responsible for repaying that debt for as long as you’re able to meet monthly debt payments without detriment to your wellbeing or the wellbeing of the members of your household. In the event you’re unable to keep making debt payments, you have several options for negotiating around this difficulty, one of which is to enter into the legal process of bankruptcy. If you find you’re having difficulties meeting debt payments from month-to-month, Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the assistance and counsel of a knowledgeable, experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Mankato, MN.

 

If you choose to file for bankruptcy, you’re entering into a legal proceeding that’s designed to provide a fair outcome for all parties involved. No matter what type of bankruptcy you file for, the parties involved include you as the debtor, your creditors, and the bankruptcy trustee who is assigned by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to oversee and administer your bankruptcy case and who is, essentially, a fiduciary or advocate for your creditors.

 

Your bankruptcy trustee may oversee the administration of your case, but each party still has a role in determining the outcome. Part of this outcome relies on whether there are adversary proceedings involved in your case.

 

What are adversary proceedings?

 

In a nutshell, an adversary proceeding is a complaint from one of the parties involved in your case that is issued as an official file to the court. It is a separate and distinct legal proceeding from the bankruptcy filing itself.  This filing can come from you, one of your creditors, or your bankruptcy trustee, and it can be a result of a number of aspects of your case.

When do they happen?

 

Adversary proceedings can be filed for a wide range of complaints about your bankruptcy case. Common complaints filed as adversary proceedings include:

 

  1. A creditor claims your debt cannot be discharged because you incurred the debt through fraudulent activity.
  2. You have multiple mortgages on your home and want to strip the junior liens to handle them as unsecured claims in your case.
  3. Your bankruptcy trustee discovers you made fraudulent transfers of accounts or properties within two years of filing.
  4. Your bankruptcy trustee discovers you made preferential transfers of accounts or properties within 90 days of filing.
  5. You have a jointly owned property and your trustee wants to force the sale of that asset in a liquidation case, possibly forcing both you and the co-owner to forfeit the possession of the property.
  6. Your creditor or trustee objects to the discharge of any particular debt or to your entire discharge/debt relief in your case on the grounds of your possible fraudulent activities as a debtor.

 

With the guidance of a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer, you can avoid many kinds of adversary proceedings that could render your case illegitimate or, when warranted, file your own adversary proceedings to affect positive change in your case.

 Find A Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you’re considering filing for individual or business bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 to get started with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Mankato, MN today.

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Why Filing for Bankruptcy is an Effective Long-Term Solution for Credit Repair in Marshall, MN

December 31st, 2018 · No Comments

Every day, American adults are faced with the cost of living no matter where they’re located or what job they have. A large portion of the cost of living we all face is the existence of debts as a regular factor in many parts of our lives. From mortgages to cars, we all hold some debt that requires monthly payments. Without a structured budget and plan for repaying the debt in accordance with other monthly expenses, it’s easy to accumulate more and more financial pressure. If you find yourself facing unmanageable debt and don’t know what path to take to recover, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can give you the help you need to file for bankruptcy and start the process of long-term credit repair in Marshall, MN.

 The Truth About Bankruptcy & Credit Repair

Filing for bankruptcy has a poor public image when it comes to credit repair. While this is in part a realistic concern for those considering filing, it has often been overshadowed by the long-term benefits it provides. Bankruptcy is a highly effective, government-sanctioned remedy for resolving and recovering from a wide variety of debts.

 

Whether you choose to file for debt reorganization or liquidation bankruptcy as an individual consumer or a business, you can start down the path to stabilizing your finances while learning about how debts and incomes function in your life.

 

Consider the following facts that occur when you file for bankruptcy:

 

The Bad:

  1. Bankruptcy will damage your credit score. Based on the FICO credit score calculation model, filing may lower your score from 100 to 200 points.
  2. Records of a bankruptcy filing will stay on public record for up to ten years, depending on which chapter you file for.

 

The Good:

  1. Despite affecting your credit negatively at first and being on your public record for years, the damaging effect that filing for bankruptcy has on your credit will start to diminish immediately after filing.
  2. Your credit score may be improved to its original standing or recover to an even better score within a few years of filing. Some filers even report a restored credit score five years after filing.
  3. Whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have debts discharged in exchange for asset liquidation or choose Chapter 13 debt reorganization and a three to five-year repayment plan, you can start rebuilding your credit right away.
  4. Rebuilding your credit during and after bankruptcy takes as little effort as budgeting, making debt payments on time, taking note of what you learn in pre-bankruptcy credit counseling, and making cautious spending choices.
  5. When bankruptcy is removed from public record, it can never affect your credit or financial standing again.

 

Bankruptcy is designed to help the individual consumer or business recover from debts and re-enter the economic system as a valuable participant. It is not designed to trap debtors or leave Americans destitute, despite popular belief.

 

If you’re ready to resolve your debts for long-term credit repair in Marshall, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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Qualifying as a Family Farmer or Fisher to File for Chapter 12 Debt Repayment Bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN

December 27th, 2018 · No Comments

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:

 

  1. You or you and your spouse together own and operate a commercial farming or fishing enterprise.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. If you are a family farmer, you must have 50% of all your debts as an individual or household directly connected to your farm.
  5. 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.

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