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What is an automatic stay in bankruptcy?

People file bankruptcy in New Jersey to get protection from creditors.  They need to halt a bank levy, wage execution, or foreclosure sale. The automatic stay is the iron wall that comes down between you and your creditors and prevents them from doing anything to collect the debt outside of bankruptcy court. It can really get you the breathing time you need to either discharge your debt or pay it over time.

However, the automatic stay does not stop everything. Some of the exceptions include:

  • A criminal action or proceeding
  • Family court actions to establish paternity, establish or modify alimony or child support, child visitation, or child custody.
  • Domestic violence actions
  • A family court action to dissolve a marriage (except for the equitable distribution of assets)
  • The collection of alimony or child support from property that is not property of a bankrupt estate (like wages in a chapter 7)
  • The interception of a tax refund
  • An audit to determine tax liability
  • An eviction from a commercial property where the lease has expired

Creditors can even get in trouble with the bankruptcy court if they violate that stay by doing something to collect the debt.The stay gives you the breathing room, and respite from creditors, that you need either to get a fresh start in a chapter 7 or propose a repayment plan in a chapter 13.

So What Do I Do?

If you live in southern New Jersey and are considering filing bankruptcy, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.

If you are looking for more information about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.

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