If you are having financial problems, cannot pay your bills, or are facing debt enforcement proceedings, you should get help. In every canton there are public debt counselling centres (web page available in German and French).
The organisations or people that you owe money to are known as your creditors. If you are unable to pay a debt on time, you can agree with your creditors how much you will pay off and by when. Your budget should allow you to pay the agreed amount within 3 years.
All the creditors have to agree to your proposal if the repayment agreement is to come into effect. As long as you abide by the agreement, your creditors are not permitted to take legal action against you.
The debt counselling centre in your canton will provide you with precise information about out-of-court debt restructuring (web page available in German and French) and will help you with the process.
If you are unable to reach an agreement on making repayment (see above), you can seek a solution with the help of the court. You must apply to the competent court at your place of residence. The debt counselling centre will help you to do this.
If the court accepts the request, it will suspend the debt enforcement proceedings by ordering a deferral and appoint an administrator. Suspending the debt enforcement proceedings will give you time to make a proposal for settling the debt. In debt restructuring proceedings before the courts, there are court costs that you, as the debtor, have to pay.
You will find detailed information on court-ordered debt restructuring under the keywords ‹amicable debt settlement› and ‹judicial debt restructuring agreement› at debt counselling services and at the competent courts.
If you are unable to restructure your debts, you can declare yourself insolvent and file a petition for personal bankruptcy.
Your assets will be distributed among your creditors; they will receive IOUs for the debts that are still outstanding afterwards. Personal bankruptcy does not extinguish your debts, but it does stop debt enforcement proceedings as long as you do not come by new assets. It also cancels any wage distraint ((internal link)) procedures, so you can once again make use of your entire salary. You will again have more money at your disposal than the minimum subsistence amount under debt enforcement law ((internal link)). Personal bankruptcy can therefore help you on your way to financial recovery.
For detailed information on bankruptcy procedures, contact the bankruptcy office or the debt counselling centre.
Debt counselling (sources of information according to the umbrella association):
Addresses of debt counselling centres in the cantons (web page available in German and French)