If your business is struggling with debt, bankruptcy can provide options to help you either stay afloat or to close your business in an efficient manner. Business, or “non-consumer,” bankruptcy is for help with debt that is mostly from profit-seeking business endeavors. In contrast, personal or “consumer” bankruptcy is for debt from purchases made for items such as food, clothing, vehicles, and shelter.
There are several options for business bankruptcy and debt relief. You need to choose the correct one for your business or you might be facing additional litigation or even putting your personal finances at risk. If you are considering filing a business bankruptcy, the law is complex, so it is crucial to get legal assistance to avoid making mistakes.
The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer offer a free consultation to evaluate both your personal financial situation and that of your business. We can help determine if you qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that liquidates your assets, or whether a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy can enable your business to remain open while making reasonable payment you can afford.
Types of Business Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy and is one of the fastest ways to get a fresh financial start. Any business can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but only sole proprietors can have their qualifying debt wiped out (discharged). If you are the sole proprietor of your business, you are responsible for its debts, and your bankruptcy would include both your personal and business debts and assets. If you file Chapter 7, your business stops operating and all assets that are not covered by Ohio exemptions get sold by a trustee. Proceeds go to your creditors to satisfy as many debts as possible, including lease obligations, credit cards, loans and contracts.
Chapter 7 has the benefit of discharging both your qualifying business and personal debts quickly. -If you have a failing business, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy makes it easier to terminate, because the trustee will be doing the job of selling product, fixtures, or equipment, attempting to collect accounts receivable, and settling with creditors. This makes closure easier and may save the business money by avoiding further litigation.
Chapter 13 or 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 is available only to individuals and sole proprietors, as the owner’s personal finances get included in the reorganization plan. Also, there are debt limits to Chapter 13. If your business debt exceeds the amount allowed, or if you are a partnership or corporation, you may be able to achieve similar benefits in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 bankruptcies do not liquidate your business; they allow the business to reorganize and pay back its debts under better terms. The business can continue operating and has a chance to recover, as long as it can make the monthly payments agreed upon in your bankruptcy. You get protection from creditors and keep more property.
A business that is a separate legal entity, such as a corporation, should be able to file bankruptcy independent from the business owner. The owners should not be personally responsible unless they have personally guaranteed the debts or have taken other similar action that would make them personally liable.
Chapter 11 is used mostly by larger, established companies as it may be too costly for a small business with a limited income.
Chapter 12 bankruptcy
This type is similar to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but is available only to family farmers and fishermen.
How Do You Know If Bankruptcy is Right For You?
There are many factors that determine whether bankruptcy is right for your business. Considerations to ask yourself and discuss with your attorney include:
- Is your business a sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, or limited liability company?
- Are you personally liable for business debts?
- Do you want to close your business or keep it running?
- How much and what types of debts do you have?
Contact Us and Get Help
With so much at stake, it’s important not to undergo the bankruptcy process alone. At Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer we provide a free initial consultation where we will evaluate your entire financial and business situation. We examine your income, your debts and your goals, and then discuss the best fit for you. If bankruptcy is the right step, we are there to file for you, represent you in court, help rebuild your credit and fight for you every step of the way.
Delaying can only make matters worse, so call the experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer today. Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.