The day you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case with the bankruptcy court, an automatic stay is imposed that requires your creditors to cease their collection practices. The stay prohibits phone calls, letters, lawsuits, wage garnishments and executions on property, such as mortgage foreclosures. The court can impose penalties such as attorneys’ fees, actual damages and punitive damages on creditors who willfully ignore the stay.
The automatic stay is not absolute. A creditor may file a petition asking the court for relief based on good cause shown. The court often grants this petition unless the debtor successfully defends against it. These are common for seeking to lift the stay:
If a creditor seeks to lift the stay, there are still ways the debtor can mount a successful defense. Here are some typical strategies:
These strategies can maintain the stay and defeat the creditor’s petition, but you need to discuss all viable approaches with your bankruptcy attorney.
Jeff Field & Associates is a full-service bankruptcy and debt relief firm with six locations in the Atlanta, Marietta, and Athens areas of Georgia. Contact us online or call 404-381-1278 for a free initial consultation.
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