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  #21  
Old 13.02.2020, 16:59
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

Here's a fourth vote for visiting Caritas, to which Blueangel, Jim and Curley have linked.

What do they do, and what can a debtor expect, who goes there for help? As far as I have observed it, they don't pay off the debt, nor do they give or lend the debtor any money to get rid of the debt.

They will help you by trying to make sense of all the numbers. Therefore, once you've made an appointment, you should take along all the papers you have, from when you arrived in Switzerland till now, that are to do with money.

income
  • employment contracts
  • monthly and annual pay-slips
  • details of any bonus payments or additional perks your employer may give you

moneys owed to you
  • details of any wages/salaries not properly paid to you by employers
  • details of debts anyone has to you, such as a friend who owes you money
  • deposits from a former landlord, that have not yet been refunded to you

moneys you owe
  • contracts and repayment schedules of any credits/loans you've taken out at banks or other lending institutions
  • details of any private loans you have, money owing to friends or employers, and what they were for
  • car leasing agreements
  • any customer accounts you may have, for example at a departmental store like Jelmoli or Globus
  • any credit arrangements of anything you are buying in instalments, e.g. electronic devices, furniture or clothing
  • credit card outstanding balances

regular living costs
  • rental contracts, reflecting main rent and additional charges (called "Nebenkosten" and/or "Heizkosten" in German)
  • any statements later sent by the landlord, reflecting additional charges or refunds of Nebenkosten/Heizkosten
  • medical insurance premiums
  • electricity bills
  • medical expenses you've had which were not covered by the medical insurance. This could include dentistry, glasses or contact lenses
  • all the papers of your car if you own one, especially purchase price, registration, insurances, bills of regular services, repairs
  • transport other than car: costs of owning and running a motor-bike or bicycle, including spare parts and servicing / public transport tickets and cards
  • phone contracts
  • internet subscriptions
  • subscriptions to magazines or services
  • memberships to gyms and clubs

records
  • bank statements
  • letters demanding payment of you
  • final warnings
  • letters from the government debt collection office (called "Betreibungsamt" in German)
  • Court Orders against you, specifying how you must pay money to someone, for example maintenance contributions for a child
  • contracts of business projects in which you are/were involved, but which failed, leaving you owing debt
  • fines owed by you to a government department

The more paperwork you can take along, and the better it is sorted before you get there, the more quickly the debt counsellor will be able to grasp what you're going through.

However, please don't worry if you haven't got all the documents together before the first appointment. So even if your papers are in a total mess and you've completely lost the overview, don't let that stop you from calling for help. The important thing is to make a start. Then keep collecting and structuring what you can, as you go along.

Remember to take along papers of things that are already over and past. Examples are a former job or a former flat, or bank accounts or mobile phone contracts that you no longer have, or subscriptions you have already cancelled. The reason for taking along the old papers is twofold:
  • a good debt counsellor will be trying to help you identify a pattern, so that you don't - even while you're trying to fix things - get into more trouble.
  • there may some parts of the money which can still be claimed. For example, I know someone who, when they sorted the papers, found several medical bills they'd already paid to the doctor, but had forgotten to send in to the medical insurance company to claim the refund. Getting that money back helped a bit. Also, if you have had an employer who has neglected to pay you, there might be a procedure to claim some of that money back.

Hope that helps you to gain more structure. Yes, it is frightening to be in debt, no matter whether it came about by a poor decision you made, or through other people's faults. But NOW you are trying to fix that, and I commend you for that. Well done for wanting to get things in order. I wish you courage and endurance.

Last edited by doropfiz; 13.02.2020 at 17:15.
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  #22  
Old 13.02.2020, 17:06
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

To those who are assuming that OP's debt entirely of his own making: please don't. It might be that OP was living a wild, silly life. We don't know. But please remember that there are circumstances which can put people in debt which are not of their own making.

One such example is if an employer defaults on the wages, but the employee can't find any other work. This happened to friends of mine, a couple, when both HIS and HER employers, two completely separate companies, did the same thing over quite a long period. Had this couple not had help from their adult children, to tide them over until they managed to find better employers, they, too, would have ended up in debt. OP, on the other hand, sounds like he is alone in Switzerland, without a support system.

Even if it is OP's own fault, entirely, this is not the time for blame, because now OP is trying to find out how to fix things.
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  #23  
Old 13.02.2020, 17:17
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

Here, as a rough guideline, are some standardised examples of how a monthly income and expenses could look:
http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Familien.74.0.html (families)
http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Einzelpersonen.116.0.html (single person).

If you decide to press ahead and pay all that debt back, and depending on your salary, you may need to to live on a more stringent/frugal budget than those examples above. Once you understand where you stand, then as Edwin said above, perhaps you can find ways to supplement your income and/or to reduce your expenditure.
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  #24  
Old 13.02.2020, 17:58
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

I like your long post doropfiz, but it is at all not clear if OP has no oversight on the numbers, perhaps they are just very simply and clear to him, but just the thought of seeing all the money that others deem you don't need will be flowing away for a long time to come is already depressing enough.

However an external party looking to see if the payments even can be bumped up, or perhaps OP is entitled to have them a bit lowered to some financial breathing space is always good.
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Old 13.02.2020, 18:24
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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The reason for UK / US bankruptcy laws is it allows people to take risks in business that should things go wrong they can have another chance.
Right because all the EU citizens and particularly from Ireland that flooded into the UK for a 12 month quickie bankruptcy after the last recession were taking business risks... many of them did not even bother to take up residence but flew in and out for the required meetings using an addresses of convenance.

And I'd guess about 50% of my time over the 10 years I worked at one of the big 4 accounting firms in Ireland as an insolvency practitioner was spent working on the books of evidence for prosecutions in Ireland, NI and the UK for fraud...

The number of people who genuinely make business mistakes and go into bankruptcy is very small, most of them stop before that and don't go around defrauding creditors, employees and the revenue.
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  #26  
Old 13.02.2020, 18:42
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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I like your long post doropfiz, but it is at all not clear if OP has no oversight on the numbers, perhaps they are just very simply and clear to him, but just the thought of seeing all the money that others deem you don't need will be flowing away for a long time to come is already depressing enough.

However an external party looking to see if the payments even can be bumped up, or perhaps OP is entitled to have them a bit lowered to some financial breathing space is always good.
Yes, Edwin. Yes, whether or not OP himself understands what is going on (whether he is in total chaos, or completely systematic and working with clear Excel tables and standing orders all set up) it still seems that he needs an external voice in this, someone else to look things over with him. And that person will need to be able to gain the clarity, otherwise, I predict, they won't be able to begin to investigate where to try to help him.

Yes to breathing space! There may be ways to claim something that OP simply does not know about yet, for example a "Prämienverbilligung" (subsidy on his medical insurance premiums) which such an external person will be able to help him to claim... but probably only with all the papers in a tidy row.

Very good point that you added. Thank you.
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  #27  
Old 13.02.2020, 19:58
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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Right because all the EU citizens and particularly from Ireland that flooded into the UK for a 12 month quickie bankruptcy after the last recession were taking business risks... many of them did not even bother to take up residence but flew in and out for the required meetings using an addresses of convenance.
No requirement to be UK resident, just the requirement to have a debt over £750 in the UK, amazed you did not know that.
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Old 13.02.2020, 22:17
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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No requirement to be UK resident, just the requirement to have a debt over £750 in the UK, amazed you did not know that.
Absolute nonsense. You must have your centre live in the UK, I read enough of the ruling now dismissing the UK discharges.
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Old 13.02.2020, 22:42
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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No requirement to be UK resident, just the requirement to have a debt over £750 in the UK, amazed you did not know that.
You need debts of £5000+ in England and Wales. The rules vary in Scotland.

Your centre of interest needs to be in England and Wales for at least 6 months to become bankrupt there.
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  #30  
Old 13.02.2020, 23:10
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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You need debts of £5000+ in England and Wales. The rules vary in Scotland.
The £5000 limit only applies when a creditor is filing for bankruptcy and does not apply if you file yourself.
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Old 13.02.2020, 23:17
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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Absolute nonsense. You must have your centre live in the UK, I read enough of the ruling now dismissing the UK discharges.
That is only true for people who currently live in the EU (except Danmark)

Thus not relevant for OP since he does not live in the EU.

If he lives in Switzerland he can only file for bankruptcy in England if he has lived there or had a business there in the last 3 years.
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  #32  
Old 13.02.2020, 23:22
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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You need debts of £5000+ in England and Wales. The rules vary in Scotland.

Your centre of interest needs to be in England and Wales for at least 6 months to become bankrupt there.
One can declare bankruptcy when having debts of £5000.00?
LOL.

Switzerland (admin.ch): <<The debtor must have approximately CHF 4,000 to pay an advance on costs related to the bankruptcy.>>
So in comparison, one needs to be richt to go bankrupt.
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Old 13.02.2020, 23:25
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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One can declare bankruptcy when having debts of £5000.00?
LOL.:
Actually, you don't declare bankruptcy, you apply to be declared bankrupt. It is not unknown to have an application rejected.
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Old 13.02.2020, 23:38
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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So in comparison, one needs to be richt to go bankrupt.
Personal Bankruptcy's in Switzerland are not so much a method to get rid of your debts, but more a method to get structure in the whole thing. If you have for example 5 diff debts which each cost 1.000,- a month and one falls back to an income of 6.000,- a month than one can keep on paying to little, and end up having betriebung and a lot of extra costs for each debt that is not paid properly, surely one would try to talk to the debtors to reach an agreement for another payment schedule, but if that fails than one files for bankruptcy to force all parties into a structured situation where enough money remains to keep a sort of decent living.
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Old 14.02.2020, 11:06
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

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The £5000 limit only applies when a creditor is filing for bankruptcy and does not apply if you file yourself.
You're right. My mistake
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Old 03.10.2020, 06:49
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Re: Coming out from my debt or filing bankruptcy .please help me to find out a soluti

Thought I would bring this thread back to life and hopefully add some value.

The post above from doropfiz has really good information

I approached Caritas a couple of months ago and was unable to get an appointment, they were and are overwhelmed here in Geneva.

In the end I had much of the information anyway but with their support & influence I was hoping to make the impending doom easier to handle. Actually more of it was to do with helping share the mental load as it just felt like complete overwhelm at that moment.

In the end I have managed to negotiate all bar -two- debts which one should be relatively straight forward with the tax office. The other one I had negotiated but unfortunately a person involved in that is not currently keeping to the signed agreement.

Certainly getting a poursuite through the post unexpectedly gives you the bums rush.

Grateful that I have a great helpline I can call and get legal advice, spent a few hours dealing with the paperwork and fingers crossed that one should not proceed.

The reality is that kicks that one down the road a bit but buys me time. Understanding the situation now, means it gives me a much better chance to deal with it.

Things that have really helped me ....
  • Monthly budget including debts even if some are being paid at zero
  • Forecast budget which is relevant in my case showing my position in 19 months as I will have paid down quite a bit of debt (which at this point I should be able to settle them all)
  • Identify cost savings, for me moving to a smaller apartment would save me 1K a month, so that is the most significant & priority.
  • Use the tools in the banking app, so I have Postfinance and it has an e-cockpit which allows you to assign income and expenses to categories. This allows you to really understand not only the amount but the % of your income covering those.
  • Selling items you no longer use or could do without.

Needless to say the last thing I need at the moment is a poursuite as that would block me being able to downsize apartment.

The lawyer who was excellent explained to me that a poursuite is something you need to deal with quickly as it can have dramatic consequences, I knew most of it anyway.

You have 20 days to settle if you owe the money but if you can't then reach out and come to some payment schedule arrangement & ask for removal of the porsuite.

You have 10 days to contest it, which can be by filling in the bottom of the back of the form, partial or complete contest. You can also phone or go in person and say "I contest this".

The days counted start from the moment you sign for the poursuite & signing for it does not mean that you agree to owing the debt, it is just acknowledgement of having been served.

You can also write to the person who you is claiming the money to dispute it too.

Me, I have sent back by registered post to the Office de Poursuite & also going to send the same to the claimant but also engage with them as I got blindsided by this one. Certainly I think that improves your chances!

I really do despise the divorce process here and how much debt you can incur and not only financial but mental pressure it puts you under.

Last edited by magic; 03.10.2020 at 06:52. Reason: typo
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