Facing financial trouble carries with it a significant emotional burden. Individuals worry about juggling money and which bills must go unpaid in favor of others. Families will feel the stress of sacrifice and the strain of not having enough money to get by. To make matters worse, creditors and collection agencies pile on additional pressure with constant phone calls, letters and email.
Fortunately, filing for debt relief through bankruptcy can put a stop to this harassment with the automatic stay.
When you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay stops most collection efforts against you. This can refer to both collection lawsuits and other actions. The automatic stay is a benefit built into the Bankruptcy Code to give debtors some separation from the collection agencies. Under certain circumstances, the automatic stay can stop:
- Most civil lawsuits to collect debt: If a lawsuit has been filed to collect a debt that is eligible for discharge, the lawsuit is stopped.
- Disconnection of utility services: For many people, filing for bankruptcy to prevent utility services from being shut off is a compelling reason. While the bankruptcy might not eliminate utility service debts, the automatic stay will generally halt any collection efforts for a period of time to allow you to get caught up.
- Stop wage garnishments: Creditors will often seek a legal remedy for debt collection through wage garnishments. This is when a portion of your paycheck is immediately withdrawn to satisfy a debt. Under certain circumstances, these garnishments immediately end when you file for bankruptcy.
Outside of ending creditor harassment, the automatic stay can put an end to foreclosure, eviction and repossession. This benefit is not always a certain, permanent fix, however, and it is wise to discuss your financial future with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can provide the answers and guidance you need.