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If you are temporarily unable to pay your debts, you can ask the court to grant you deferral (suspension) of payment (surseance van betaling) (usually for 18 months). Suspension of payment enables you to avoid bankruptcy. Whether a suspension of payment is suitable for your business depends on your situation. It could be that debt restructuring is more appropriate to your situation.
How to apply for a suspension of payment?
You need an attorney in order to submit an application for a suspension of payment. You should include your financial documents and a list of creditors with your application. The court will grant provisional approval within one day. You will then be informed of the definitive ruling.
Before the court grants a definitive suspension of payment, you and your creditors will have the opportunity to be heard. Your creditors may then vote. If the court decides to grant definitive suspension of payment, the creditors who did not agree can appeal against this.
If the court refuses a definitive suspension, you may be declared bankrupt. You can ask your attorney to bring an appeal against the refusal to grant the definitive suspension and any declaration of bankruptcy.
The court will appoint an administrator. He will provide you with advice and helps you in the negotiations with creditors. He will administer your assets together with you. He must approve all your decisions, for example if you want to spend money.
Your administrator can agree a repayment schedule at a meeting of creditors. If a majority of your creditors agree, they will receive the same percentage of the claim. They can no longer claim the unpaid part. The court must endorse the composition. This is called court approval.
Register of suspensions of payment
The Central Insolvency Register (Centraal Insolventieregister) lists all the bankruptcies, suspensions of payment and debt restructurings of natural persons since 1 January 2005. The court also notifies definitive suspensions of payment to the Trade Register (Handelsregister).