The world of corporate bankruptcy law can be complex and intimidating. Don’t let confusion get in the way of making the best decisions for your company: read on to get answers to the most commonly asked corporate bankruptcy questions.
Q. What is bankruptcy?
A. When a business has financial liabilities that exceed their assets or is unable to meet financial obligations, that company is insolvent-unable to pay their creditors, the company must come to an agreement with their creditors regarding payment or file for bankruptcy protection. This judicial solution gives the courts the power to settle the company’s debts. Bankruptcy proceedings can be initiated by the debtor or by the creditor (called an involuntary bankruptcy). Filing a bankruptcy petition affects all of your creditors including:
- Secured creditors (those with a lien on your property)
- Unsecured creditors (vendors, credit card companies and others without a security interest in your property
- Judgment creditors (creditors who have sued and obtained a judgment against the debtor prior to the bankruptcy filing)
- Creditors with super priority claims (those with priority over other creditors because of special rules within the bankruptcy)
- Creditors with administrative claims (creditors such as accountants or lawyers with priority because of their assistance in the bankruptcy filing)
Q. What does filing for bankruptcy mean for my business?
A. Filing a bankruptcy petition simply starts a legal proceeding, with no guarantees regarding the outcome. That is to say, the debtor will present evidence of its insolvency, but there is no guarantee that the court will declare them bankrupt. This statutory process gives creditors and other parties the opportunity to challenge the debtor’s allegations and object to the relief being sought by the debtor.
Filing for bankruptcy does immediately put into effect an “automatic stay,” an injunction that stops creditors from trying to collect their debts until the bankruptcy court rules. This stay is issued against all creditors upon filing a bankruptcy petition. The automatic stay is designed to give debtors temporary relief from their financial obligations, giving them the breathing room to figure out how to deal with their debts. If the courts declare your company bankrupt, then a settlement will be worked out with your creditors to satisfy all or part of your debts. Depending on the bankruptcy chapter you filed under, different rules apply.
Q. What is a business workout?
A. A business workout is a non-judicial resolution of your company’s financial obligations. Business workouts are settlements between a company and its creditors that satisfy the businesses’ debts, enabling it to continue operation. Also known as bankruptcy prevention, these arrangements are made outside of the court system.
While it may be surprising that creditors are willing to participate in business workouts, they’re more likely to receive greater compensation for their debts if your company does not file for bankruptcy. Using an alternative to corporate bankruptcy proceedings benefits creditors as well as the debtor, because some, or even most, of the debt will not be repaid under a bankruptcy proceeding. Secured debt, unsecured debt, and tax debts can all be resolved as a part of a workout. For additional information about business bankruptcies and your company, contact your area bankruptcy lawyers.