The Automatic Stay In Bankruptcy

When I get a first phone call from a potential client, there is usually a pressing reason.  They need help NOW. They can’t make this month’s bills, they are receiving threatening phone calls, or the Sheriff has been to the house to enforce a Writ of Execution. The Automatic Stay in bankruptcy halts the threats.

Upon Filing

Filing bankruptcy provides immediate relief. Upon filing bankruptcy, the court issues an “automatic stay.” This freezes all creditors in their attempt to collect on a debt. They can’t call you, send you mail, or otherwise attempt to enforce their rights against you. If they do, you and your attorney can file a violation of stay action against the creditor, or the collector they have employed.

Foreclosure Proceedings

If you are facing a foreclosure proceeding, the automatic stay freezes this as well. Your mortgage lender can petition the court to remove the automatic stay but that takes time. During this allotment of time, you can either get caught up on payments, work out a loan modification, or decide to surrender the property as part of the bankruptcy.


Most people I speak to daily are afraid of losing their vehicle. It’s a necessary part of life that we need to function normally. If you are behind on vehicle payments and file a petition in bankruptcy, the bank is prevented from trying to take your car and must treat you in accordance with the bankruptcy code.

Wage Garnishments

In North Carolina, wage garnishment requirements are strict but creditors do sometimes have the right to garnish your wages to collect on a debt supported by a judgment against you. In most cases, the automatic stay will stop wage garnishments. You can potentially recover funds taken prior to filing the bankruptcy; your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney will need to know specifics in order to determine this.

Renters and Utilities

An automatic stay will also give you some breathing room as a renter who is about to be evicted. While it depends on what part of the eviction process you are in, if you reach out to your attorney in time and file, your filing will buy you some time to remain in the home and plan your next move. Even utility companies are treated as creditors and must abide by the automatic stay—you and your family will be warm at night.

You have more control over your situation than you may know. By speaking with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney you can get peace of mind about your options, work together to maximize the benefits of filing a bankruptcy and take swift action to dramatically change your life for the better.

Reach out today. Email me HERE or call 704.749.7747 to speak directly with me. I’m here to help.