Bankruptcy & The Automatic Stay in Chapter 7
What is an Automatic Stay?
The automatic stay is an injunction of the court that comes into effect automatically when a bankruptcy case is filed. This protects you or your business from any and all forms of creditor collection or enforcement action. In Chapter 11 or Chapter 13, during the plan repayment period, creditor collection action is also stayed, allowing a debtor who can make reasonable payments the opportunity to catch up on house, car, taxes, and other defaulted loans without excess interest and without fear of losing the asset.
Benefits of the Automatic Stay
One of the most significant benefits of bankruptcy is the automatic stay. Once you file for bankruptcy protection, you will be granted immediate protection from your creditors. Once your creditors receive notice of your filing, they must immediately cease all collection or enforcement activity. The automatic stay is granted for people who file Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Some of the actions that the automatic stay puts an end to are:
- Garnishing wages
- Harassing mailings, phone calls and stalking by creditors
- Levying bank accounts
- Pestering the debtor’s friends, neighbors, family members and employers about a debtor’s whereabouts or other personal information
- Foreclosing or levying upon property, including secured debt items such as your home or other real estate, your bank account or business assets, and even your car
- Vehicle repossession
- Utility disconnections
- Collection lawsuits initiated prior to your filing
While bankruptcy provides many long-term benefits, many of our clients find that the automatic stay is the most significant short-term benefit that gives them temporary relief from creditor actions. When the automatic stay is in place, this gives you time to sort out your finances to either discharge debt in Chapter 7 or reorganize them for repayment in Chapter 13.
For more information about bankruptcy and the automatic stay, contact the Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyers at Weintraub & Selth, APC by calling (310) 220-4147.
What the Automatic Stay Cannot Stop
While the automatic stay can stop many collection efforts, there are some types of collections and actions that may still continue even when you file for bankruptcy.
Some exceptions to the automatic stay include:
- Debts that you accumulated after you file (such as if you racked up medical bills after your filing)
- Lawsuits initiated after you filed
- Some tax proceedings such as audits or deficiency notices
- Criminal proceedings and investigations
- Child support actions
- Alimony or spousal support
It is important that you know what actions cannot be stopped so you take the necessary steps to address these issues during your bankruptcy case.
How Long Does the Automatic Stay Last?
The automatic stay is triggered the moment you submit your bankruptcy case and typically will last for the entire time your bankruptcy case is open. In some cases, a creditor may request that the court delay or lift the stay for various reasons. Your attorney can advocate for you and protect you in the event a creditor violates the automatic stay rules by continuing with collection efforts.
Get Relief from Your Debts Today
Weintraub & Selth, APC is a valuable resource for individuals, families, and business owners facing debt problems or who are considering bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you or if there are alternatives that may provide you with comparable benefits. If bankruptcy is right for you, we can help ensure that your automatic stay protection is honored by your creditors as required by law.
If creditor harassment is a burden to you and you need a long-term solution to your financial struggles, contact our law firm for real debt relief and the legal protections you deserve. You can gain financial security with the assistance of our Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys. The automatic stay may be only the first step.
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