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petezurich 27.04.2020 18:46

lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Hello, this is my first post here. I know this topic was discussed here but my case seems to be a little bit different form what I have read here and I am looking for advice.
The case is as follows: 2 years back I took a loan of 100k CHF which was within reach of my salary. Shortly after, around December 2018 my wife got seriously sick (had a heart attack) which put a financial strain on us due to costs incurred in the meantime. This resulted in around 6 months of payment delay with the bank (so I owed about 12k CHF at that point in time) and in turn , due to me failing to comply with last demand, bank started collection proceedings.

With that, the betreibungsamt calculated my existenz minimum based on the definitions, taking into account my rent here etc.
What is important is that my family : My wife and our 5yr old daughter, live in my home country (Poland). In addition my wife has 3 children from previous marriage and I am sole income earner. As such the betreibungsamt calculated the cost of living for my family at 2k CHF a month, which I was fine with. My salary was 8k.


Now,, since the oldest daughter started to study abroad (as far as I am aware betreibung shouldn't hamper education of children) we decided that they will all move to Italy. This is because my wife's condition doesn't allow her to simply stay at home alone as she is at high risk of fibrillation (as she has severe arythmia).

Overall the cost of living increased as now there is rent to pay, but I though I was lucky because I managed to negotiate a salary increase to 9.4k which covers this, or so I hoped.


Now the problem is: while discussing with the betreibungsamt I provided all the documents confirming the costs of living, in addition due to coronavirus they are currently stuck in Italy anyway, yet they still insist on keeping the family allowance at 2k which basically is not enough to cover medical and living expenses.


I tried reaching out to bank, but as long as the collection proceeding last they are not open to negotiating with me, and betreibung says they could only adjust the family allowance if the bank informed them to do so, but obviously on the bank (my creditor) end there is no such procedure.


On the other hand I believe I am reasonable in my approach since the actual amount owed by the time of this proceeding was not and with my salary increase the monthly payment would be still increased .


Is there any procedure that could help me resolve this?
I am starting to consider going for personal bankruptcy, because although not beneficial at all, at least would allow me some breathing space as now it feels as if they really aim to simply destroy me.
thank you for any help and comments

Guest 27.04.2020 19:17

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Debts do not go away when filing for personal bankruptcy in Switzerland.

As for enforcing a recalculation I have no clue, but Bowlie Doropfiz might jump in.

Tilia 27.04.2020 19:20

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
I don't fully get it. You should already have paid back a big part of the owed 12 k, no? I mean, with 8k salary and 2k for your family you should have been able to pay back let's say 1k/month x 6 to 8 months. So should be 6 k left. Live on beans and rice for two months and it's paid back in full....

Guest 27.04.2020 19:23

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tilia (Post 3176356)
I don't fully get it. You should already have paid back a big part of the owed 12 k, no? I mean, with 8k salary and 2k for your family you should have been able to pay back let's say 1k/month x 6 to 8 months. So should be 6 k left. Live on beans and rice for two months and it's paid back in full....

I think he is now screwed for the full amount owned due to not paying the monthly payments for long enough.

Mullhollander 27.04.2020 20:20

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Beobachter, a Swiss consumer magazine, recommends to work with a non-profit debt adviser (and avoid commercial debt advisers):

https://www.beobachter.ch/geld/schul...imum-berechnet

This is a non-profit debt advisory service for Ct. Zurich, although there may be others:

https://www.schulden-zh.ch/

doropfiz 27.04.2020 20:25

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petezurich (Post 3176335)
Is there any procedure that could help me resolve this?
I am starting to consider going for personal bankruptcy, because although not beneficial at all, at least would allow me some breathing space as now it feels as if they really aim to simply destroy me.
thank you for any help and comments

Please just forget the notion of personal bankruptcy. In Switzerland, at Edwin has said, that doesn't just magically make the debts go away.

You can safely also dismiss the idea that the bank or the Betreibungsamt is concerned with trying to destroy you. Although I do understand that it can feel that way, it's very unlikely. What they are doing is processing your case according to procedures bysed on the facts they have and on the law, that's all. However, they may have a little leeway, and that's where you can perhaps find some relief.

It sounds to me as if you are focussing on one factor: The cost of living for your family, which the Betreibungsamt has calculated as 2k CHF a month.
Perhaps it is possible to shift your focus back from that, a little.

If I were in your position, this is what I would do.

For yourself, living alone here in Switzerland, and for your wife and all the children you support in Italy, draw up a list of the real monthly expenses. Don't round any actual amounts up or down, and try not to approximate, Instead, gather all the documents, facts, receipts, etc. so you can present, as far as possible, real numbers.

Go through your own list, and try to see whether there are any expenses you could lower or cut completely. Tilia's point of living on beans and rice is not at all flippant, but very much worth considering. What can you possibly reduce or just stop? The biggest single cost that could make a difference is usually rental: could you live more cheaply? And the easiest to forget about (and which need to be brought under close scrutiny) are the little expenses along the way, like a coffee, or more expensive groceries than necessary, eating at the canteen instead of taking your own lunchbox packed at home: could you learn to forego any of those, at least temporarily?

Go through the list of your wife and children, similarly, but perhaps less severely.

Now see if you, or if they, could increase your/their income in any way. If your/their flat is large enough, could you/they rent out a room to a tenant? Could you/your eldest child(ren) get a part-time job?

Particularly in the budget for your wife and children, if they have way too little income coming from you, what, exactly, do they now lack, and what does it cost? Again: collect the documentation so you can demonstrate this, e.g. wife walks to doctor because busfare is too expensive, child could not go on school excursion because fees were too high.

Make a commitment, as a family, to spending only very little, until this debt is paid back. When you really do need something that cannot wait, prefer buying used items from second-hand shops or markets, or from online private sellers.

In doing this budgeting exercise in several variations, you may find a way to live more frugally and thereby to have more money available to send your wife, or else to repay the debt faster. That latter is the route to freedom.

However, my main reason for suggesting this exercise in such detail is to equip you to speak to the person in charge of your file at the Betreibungsamt. To be strong, there, you need to know the options in your and your family's income and expenses.

Is there any chance at all that a greater proportion of your impounded salary will be released to your wife and children each month? I don't know. But if at all, then it is likely to happen only if you can persuade the officer, by submitting proper budgets and lots of supporting documents. Show them what is necessary and why, and show them what you are already trying, to make things better.

I get it that debt is a psychological burden. Get free of it as soon as you can.

You want something from the Betreibungsamt. Therefore, try to make it as easy as possible for the officer in charge of your case, to reveiw it, and to work his/her way through your well-compiled documents, and to draw a conclusion. Make them want to help you. Good luck!

petezurich 27.04.2020 20:45

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tilia (Post 3176356)
I don't fully get it. You should already have paid back a big part of the owed 12 k, no? I mean, with 8k salary and 2k for your family you should have been able to pay back let's say 1k/month x 6 to 8 months. So should be 6 k left. Live on beans and rice for two months and it's paid back in full....


I had other obligations in homecountry and as EdwinNL explains: I am now screwed for the whole amount although now I would be more than capable of handling the debt, but now it is too late since it all started.


I had all the documents prepared: my wife'd diagnosis confimation, her additional health insurance, she also has something called cardio-tele which allows her to have diagnosis over the internet which we also cover. Also the rental agreement with the apartment.



"If my flat is large enough": I rent a room for 1k, had one for 700 CHF but had to swap due to apartment renovation. As you can imagine with negative entries in betreibungsaufzug it is hard to look for cheaper options, if any.
So if you count:
Overall existenz minimum is calculated for me at 4.9k, including family allowance of 2k
So after my room 1k, health insurance 400, family 2k.
I can hardly save more on food since I spend maybe 200 on myself already as is, if that. If you subtract 1k rent from my family allowance they are left with 1k, for 5 people for a month, and in this there is cost of health insurance and medication. As you can imagine this is not a lot and it is hard to demand that a 5 year old eats rice all the time.


Overall my "idea" was that since I got a rise that can cover the increase in spending, even if only partially, this helps both me and the creditor as he gets more money anyway, but well it does not work like that it seems.


I know that after bankrupcy the debt does not go away, but since I prefer to feed my family over this I am just considering options as I am quite desperate, especialy that now even if I pay the missing amount of the credit, this proceeding will not stop anyway

Guest 27.04.2020 20:57

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petezurich (Post 3176390)
I know that after bankrupcy the debt does not go away, but since I prefer to feed my family over this I am just considering options as I am quite desperate, especialy that now even if I pay the missing amount of the credit, this proceeding will not stop anyway

What exactly do you think to achieve by filing for bankruptcy? (not even sure it would be granted in your position.)

You'd have to put down 4K to start with and costs might go up much higher during the whole process.

Your first best option would be to follow Doropfiz his advice.

3Wishes 27.04.2020 21:00

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petezurich (Post 3176335)
...In addition my wife has 3 children from previous marriage and I am sole income earner....

You don't have to give details here, but unless their father is deceased or incapacitated in some way, I don't see why you as the stepparent are the sole income provider for three children that are not yours. The father needs to pay for a portion of the care of his children, if at all possible.

petezurich 27.04.2020 21:03

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Well, at least form what I read and potentially misunderstood is that before bankruptcy would go through, there would be a negotiation opened with the bank. reaching agreement with them directly would be much better.
now that the process of betriebung has started this is not possible until it ends, whcih will be in August this year.
It really seems like a short time but I somehow need to make sure I will have enough to survive by then, hence I was hoping for some understanding or flexibility on the debt collection office part

doropfiz 27.04.2020 21:04

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
This sounds like a very stressful situation!

You write that your wife and children are "stuck in Italy".
Are they now registered as living there, or are they still, on paper, "in Poland" and just can't travel back from Italy to Poland?

I admit that I don't quite know how the matter of health insurance works, but If they are registered in Poland, then doesn't their Polish medical system cover them while they are temporarily stuck in Italy? Perhaps with an EHIC? https://www.cleiss.fr/particuliers/ceam_en.html

If, on the other hand, they are officially resident in Italy, do they really have to pay a contritution to the Italian national health scheme? I had understood it to be a universal scheme, requiring only some small partial payments.

petezurich 27.04.2020 21:05

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 3Wishes (Post 3176399)
You don't have to give details here, but unless their father is deceased or incapacitated in some way, I don't see why you as the stepparent are the sole income provider for three children that are not yours. The father needs to pay for a portion of the care of his children, if at all possible.


The problem is that this is not possible and as you can imagine, fixing something in that matter (which is impossible anyway), would be quite hard on a weeks/months notice. Overall I consider the family my responsibility and it would be rather hard to say to older children: well tough luck, you don't eat, not my problem

doropfiz 27.04.2020 21:07

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Does your employer know that this is happening? Is your relationship there strong and good? If so, it might be possible to ask your employer to pay off your debt completely, and then they withhold a portion of your salary, instead of the Betreibungsamt doing so. If they might agree to that, then you might be able to negotiate a slightly slower rate of repayment. Of course, this will depend on your relationship there, and also on your employer's liquidity.

petezurich 27.04.2020 21:12

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
My employer doesn't know this, although they (lets say regional manager) is aware that I've run into some difficulties. Its rather impossible because my company is managed by a bigger entity from another country, and while this could have been possible some time ago, before our acquisition, now it was difficult to even get a smaller loan to cover the immediate problem.

doropfiz 27.04.2020 21:16

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
As I understood your situation, you owed money, didn't pay when warned to do so, and then got a Betreibung. The Betreibungsamt has made a Lohnpfändung, meaning that they force the employer to pay a large first slice of your salary to them, to pay the creditor. You're left trying to feed your children on the rest.

(By the way, I am not judging... it's an awful place to get into, no matter how it happened, and many people don't realise how quickly one can fall out of everything looking solid and then suddenly things are falling, falling.)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean with this part:
Quote:

Originally Posted by petezurich (Post 3176390)
.....now even if I pay the missing amount of the credit, this proceeding will not stop anyway

If you pay the debt in full, then that is - exactly - what causes this procedure to stop, immediately. Paying the debt is what causes the Lohnpfändung to stop, and the Betreibungsamt no longer controls your salary, and your employer is once again allowed to pay you your full salary again.

petezurich 27.04.2020 21:22

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
I wasn't clear: at the moment of collection I owed 12k, as obviously the rest of the loan would be owed it the future.
So assuming that tomorrow I go there and pay 15k, to be even ahead of schedule (to simplify) this would still not stop. Obviously if I paid the amount of 100k in full this would be the end of it, but I don't have that kind of money currently.


Yes you understood correctly, frankly so far I was able to negotiate with the bank when I was behind 4-5 payments with them being quite lenient but the 6th payment came in and they went all in. And I understand it, I owe money, I didnt pay, but the collection process in Switzerland seems to be really harsh, taking into account how much was outstanding

doropfiz 27.04.2020 21:25

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petezurich (Post 3176400)
... I was hoping for some understanding or flexibility on the debt collection office part

It seems to me that the only way you could achieve that is by producing all the documentation, as I suggested above.

For example, if you moved out of your Fr. 1000 p.m. room, into a Fr. 700 p.m., then very strictly speaking, the Lohnpfändung could attach that Fr. 300, too, and pay it to the creditor. However, if you made proper budgets, and backed them up with documentation, and showed the officer at the Betreibungsamt that you were now ready to, for example, take on a longer commute because you've found a Fr. 700 room, but that you want this Fr. 300 please to go to your family, not to the creditor and not into your pocket, you might find that such a compromise becomes possible.

I can, however, almost guarantee that it will not happen only on the basis of asking for it. Officers must answer to their superiors, and will need to motivate for reasons why this compromise should be allowed. Their procedures are one thing, and their hearts are another. Remember, they've heard every con and every sob story in the book, so if you want them to meet you with flexibility and compassion, you have to be the one they learn to want to help, because they can see that you are trying everything in your power to get things to work out right.

roegner 27.04.2020 21:28

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petezurich (Post 3176408)
I wasn't clear: at the moment of collection I owed 12k, as obviously the rest of the loan would be owed it the future.
So assuming that tomorrow I go there and pay 15k, to be even ahead of schedule (to simplify) this would still not stop. Obviously if I paid the amount of 100k in full this would be the end of it, but I don't have that kind of money currently.


Yes you understood correctly, frankly so far I was able to negotiate with the bank when I was behind 4-5 payments with them being quite lenient but the 6th payment came in and they went all in. And I understand it, I owe money, I didnt pay, but the collection process in Switzerland seems to be really harsh, taking into account how much was outstanding

I doubt it would be different elsewhere as it is quite an amount. Being 4-5 months in arrears will have consequences anywhere.


Is there a Schuldnerberatungsstelle you can go to? They offer advice and could maybe liaise with the bank

Mullhollander 27.04.2020 21:30

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
A rough calculation suggests that the bank is trying to collect the full amount within approx. two year by garnishing your wages. As you discovered, your wage raise just went to pay down the debt more quickly.

A debt adviser would try to re-negotiate the payments with the bank for up to three years, according to Beobachter, and the Betreibung would be withdrawn. Stretching the payments to three years would give you additional breathing room.

I would think that the Beobachter advice to work with a non-profit debt advisory service is sound.

petezurich 27.04.2020 21:38

Re: lohnpfändung - minimum amount, family abroad
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mullhollander (Post 3176414)
(...)
A debt adviser would try to re-negotiate the payments with the bank for up to three years, according to Beobachter, and the Betreibung would be withdrawn. Stretching the payments to three years would give you additional breathing room.

I would think that the Beobachter advice to work with a non-profit debt advisory service is sound.

I will try this, altough I tried to reach the bank on my own and they would not budge, telling me to wait until collection runs its course. Would Beobachter be able to help with that at all?


Quote:

Originally Posted by doropfiz (Post 3176409)
(...)
I can, however, almost guarantee that it will not happen only on the basis of asking for it. Officers must answer to their superiors, and will need to motivate for reasons why this compromise should be allowed. Their procedures are one thing, and their hearts are another. Remember, they've heard every con and every sob story in the book, so if you want them to meet you with flexibility and compassion, you have to be the one they learn to want to help, because they can see that you are trying everything in your power to get things to work out right.

Thats the thing, I negotiated a salary increase assuming that it covers the expected increase in expense and more, so that both I end the creditor get more money and everyone is happy, but I was wrong. Not even that: I got the rise since january and every month since then I was missing the employee reponsible for me and others were quite "accepting" that I bring this and that but they were understandably leaving the final decision to the person in charge of my case. And now I learned that starting January I was actually wrong


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