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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). Suspensions are granted for 18 months. Suspension of payment enables you to avoid bankruptcy. It could be that debt restructuring is more appropriate to your situation.
How to file for a suspension of payment?
The court will grant provisional approval within one day and the judge will appoint an adminstrator. You will then be informed whether or not you are granted a definitive suspension of payment.
A hearing for you and your creditors will be held within 2 to 4 weeks of the provisional ruling. During the hearing you can explain your situation and your creditors will be allowed to vote on the matter. If too few creditors vote in favour of a suspension, the court will not grant you one. Otherwise it is the court that decides on whether or not to grant a definitive suspension of payment. The creditors are free to appeal against the court’s decision.
If the court refuses a definitive suspension, you may be declared bankrupt. You can appeal against the refusal to grant the definitive suspension and any declaration of bankruptcy.
If you are granted a suspension of payment, the court will appoint an administrator. He or she will:
- advise you
- help you in the negotiations with creditors
- administer your assets with you
- approve all your decisions, for example when you want to spend money.
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).
Ending suspension of payment
Suspension of payment will end if:
- the administrator or 1 of the creditors requests the withdrawal of the suspension of payment (usually bankruptcy will follow)
- you request the withdrawal of the suspension of payment because you are solvent again
- you have reached a definitive arrangement with the creditors.