The filing of any bankruptcy petition by a debtor (person or company filing the petition) immediately puts into effect the Automatic Stay ,which is an injunction (court order) that enjoins (forbids) any creditor from attempting to collect any debt for at least 180 days. Depending on what types of debts you have and under which Chapter you file, this immediately stops – – either temporarily or permanently:
- All harassing calls and letters from all debt collectors,
- All mortgage foreclosures where a bank, mortgage, or finance company is attempting to take and sell your home or other real estate to satisfy overdue mortgage payments,
- All debt collection lawsuits for such debts as (including but not limited to) medical bills, credit cards, debts owed to individuals or companies, some debts for overdue taxes,
- Garnishments of your wages or other money or property such as bank accounts, accounts receivable, rent owed to you, or other debts owed to you, to satisfy debts owed by you to individuals, companies, or tax collection authorities,
- All executions and levies (where the IRS, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, or a county Sheriff are seizing your property to satisfy a judgment against you or for tax obligation),
- Repossessions of cars and other personal property,
- Any other attempt by any creditor to collect any debt, including
- Any equitable distribution, child or spousal support, alimony pendente lite or alimony proceeding in a divorce action. If it is to your advantage, we will file in Bankruptcy Court a Motion or Relief from Automatic Stay for the limited purpose of allowing the divorce to proceed. Whether it will be granted depends on factors specific to each case and is beyond the scope of this page.
Any violation of the automatic stay by a creditor can be litigated as a contempt of court in Bankruptcy Court, and suits in a state or federal court, seeking civil fines, damages, costs, and attorney fees.
The Automatic Stay frees you from what may have been overwhelming stress, gives you breathing room, a chance to get control of your debt problems, a chance to relax and concentrate on solving your debt problems, for the first time in months, or maybe even years.