In a recent post, I wrote about two of the main benefits a bankruptcy case can provide. One of those benefits was the “automatic stay” that provides protection from your creditors. Let’s take a closer look at the “automatic stay” and how it helps you.
When you file a bankruptcy case, you are protected by law from a vast array of debt collection tactics and efforts. This legal protection becomes available to you immediately upon the filing of your case. With very limited exceptions that an experienced debt relief lawyer can easily handle, you don’t have to ask for it or go to court to obtain it. The protection is instant and it stays with you throughout your case.
Both you and your property are protected. What does this mean? It means that your wages, for example, cannot be garnished period. It doesn’t matter if one of your creditors has already gotten a judgment against you. Your bank account balances are safe from creditors. Your home is safe from foreclosure. Your car and other personal property are safe from repossession. You are safe from debt collection phone calls, letters, personal visits, lawsuits, or any other efforts or tactics that your creditors or debt collectors could otherwise employ against you. Think about that for a moment. If you or your family is being harassed by debt collectors, you have the power to make it all stop and stop now.
A creditor who knowingly violates the protection of the automatic stay is in big trouble. How so? Well, the law states that a creditor who knowingly violates the automatic stay can be sued for damages and attorney’s fees and costs. This means that your lawyer can sue the creditor who knowingly violated the automatic stay and make that creditor pay YOU! And, that type of lawsuit costs you nothing because not only does the violating creditor owe you damages, the creditor also has to pay the fees and expenses of YOUR lawyer to sue them.
As mentioned earlier, there are a few limited exceptions to the protection of the automatic stay. Many of the exceptions rarely occur in an individual consumer’s bankruptcy case. One exception that does occur in individual consumer cases arises where a consumer files a third or subsequent bankruptcy case having had two or more bankruptcy cases pending within the past year. In such cases, a motion before the court is necessary to invoke the automatic stay. In any event, an experienced and competent debt relief attorney can evaluate your case and spot any exceptions that might apply.
If you have debts you cannot pay and you are being hounded by debt collectors, you need not suffer because you have a powerful tool at your disposal. A consultation with an experienced and competent debt relief attorney is the smartest thing you can do to begin taking control of your situation. In such a consultation, you can learn about both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy alternatives that you may have under the circumstances. It’s up to you to make the first move.