All too often, when the word bankruptcy is uttered, it seems to be shrouded in a pall of negative implication. This is perhaps particularly true when the filer for the protections that are available through personal bankruptcy is an individual consumer.

For some reason, society seems ready to make the call that if a business files for bankruptcy, it’s just part of doing business. But if an individual seeks the same help, it’s somehow an indicator of personal failure. That’s not a fair judgment to make, nor is it one that anyone should have to endure.

Bankruptcy, whether by a person or a business, may not always be appropriate. But there are times when it may be, and an attorney with experience in bankruptcy law can help sort through such questions.

In some instances, debt management through bankruptcy may be an effective strategy for ensuring the best outcome for all the parties involved — debtor and creditors. In the personal bankruptcy realm, this is often sought through a Chapter 13 filing. For a business, it tends to be through filing for Chapter 11. Both work to restructure debt in a manageable way under court supervision.

An example of how it works in the business world is offered in the recent Chapter 11 filing by GateHouse Media Inc. The company has publications in 330 markets in 21 states, including seven newspapers in Arkansas. Last month, the company filed for Chapter 11 with the aim of restructuring more than $1 billion in debt that is slated to come due in August of next year.

The company says that with the debt coming due and the challenges being faced by the newspaper industry, a strategic restructuring is needed. The CEO says that under the plan proposed to the court, GateHouse Media seeks to join forces with another company, reduce its overall debt burden and get an infusion of cash. He says successful completion should not only keep the company intact, but better positioned for growth going forward.

Source:, “Owner of seven Arkansas newspapers files for reorganization under Chapter 11,” Sept. 27, 2013