What is the Automatic Stay?

Once a bankruptcy case is filed, a bankruptcy restraining order is automatically issued. This restraining order, which functions much like a typical restraining order, is formally known as the automatic stay. This automatic stay prevents creditors from proceeding in collection actions against you. What this means is that creditors can't call you at home, at work, or on your cell phone; they can't file a lawsuit against you or attempt to continue any lawsuits that they had already filed against you, they can't continue with any wage garnishments; and they can't generally do anything that attempts to collect on a debt.

It is important to note that although most actions by creditors are automatically stayed from the instant the bankruptcy cased is filed, a few actions are not. These include any actions by governments to enforce their police power, any lawsuits that involve child support or spousal maintenance, and any criminal actions that have been brought or will be brought against you by authorities.