Having debt collectors come after you at home or at work may prove anxiety-inducing, but if you have fallen behind on your payments to your creditors, this may well be your new reality. It does not necessarily have to be this way, however. You may, depending on circumstances, be able to give yourself at least temporary relief by filing for bankruptcy and having the automatic stay period take effect.

Just what is an automatic stay, and how might it help you fend off seemingly constant communications from creditors? Per LendingTree, the automatic stay is something a bankruptcy court issues once you initiate bankruptcy proceedings. The automatic stay period takes effect right when you file for bankruptcy, and during this period, which typically ends when your bankruptcy case closes or when your debts undergo discharge, many of your creditors may not come after you.

More specifically, bankruptcy’s automatic stay period may give you relief if you are fielding communications from utility companies that are threatening to shut off your services. Typically, utility companies may not disconnect your services while your bankruptcy case is ongoing, but there are a few exceptions.

The automatic stay also puts a stop to any wage garnishments you are currently facing. Thus, you should expect to receive your full salary from work during the automatic stay period, even if you were losing part of it to wage garnishment prior. Similarly, if you are facing eviction or foreclosure, the automatic stay period may also grant you temporary relief from these circumstances.

This copy is meant for educational purposes and is not a replacement for legal advice.