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Washington State Bankruptcy Lawyers
The "Automatic Stay" and how it works.
The Automatic Stay is an order issued by the bankruptcy court as soon as your case is filed. This immediately stops any and all creditor harassment. No more living in fear of answering your phone or wondering who might be calling. The automatic stay takes effect automatically against all creditors. If a creditor attempts to collect a debt after the automatic stay is in effect, the creditor can be sued for actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys fees.
To be liable for damages, however, the creditor has to have had notice of the bankruptcy filing. Even if the creditor did not have notice of the filing and cannot be sanctioned, they must return any property taken after the case was filed. It's hard to describe the true power of the automatic stay or how filing for bankruptcy can get such a game changer for you and your family personally. Again, however, imagine how peaceful your life will be again once all creditor harassment and nasty phone calls completely cease.
The kinds of actions that are stayed when you file for bankruptcy include, but are limited to the following: lawsuits, garnishments, nasty phone calls and letters, repossessions, and all home foreclosure actions. How sweet would it be to have your life back? How sweet would it be to be able to pay your bills every month without coming up short?
Isn't it time that you stopped being afraid of answering your own phone. Our Washington State bankruptcy attorneys want you to know that you don't have to take this harassment every hour of every day, day after day, month after month. If you are able to qualify for protection under the Federal and Washington bankruptcy laws, then immediate debt relief is available.
Once your bankruptcy petition is filed, all harassing phone calls and creditor harassment must IMMEDIATELY STOP. That's the law under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Our Washington creditor harassment lawyers know the law when it comes to filing for bankruptcy and stopping harassing phone calls related to debt collection.
Get help and answers from one of our creditor harassment attorneys today! Stop all harassing phone calls immediately.
You have very important and enforceable legal rights when it comes to creditor harassment and the protections that bankruptcy offers. A good bankruptcy attorney knows how protect their client from harassing phone calls as soon as they are retained. For example, our lawyers give our clients a specific phone number to provide to creditors once they have retained our law firm.
In most cases, once creditors and those nasty debt collectors know you retained a good bankruptcy law firm, they simply stop harassing you immediately, even though you haven't actually filed for bankruptcy. Why would they do this you ask since the formal legal protection only starts after you have filed your formal bankruptcy petition. The answer is simple really. They know that it's a complete waste of their time to keep harassing you!
You see, they know from experience that once you have actually retained our law firm's bankruptcy services, they will never see a dime of your money again. They know that our lawyers will have explained your legal rights and options to you in detail. And, they are smart enough to know that continuing to harass you is just a waste of time. You are never going to pay them another penny since 100% of their debt is going to be completely "discharged" or wiped out in your bankruptcy.
Are there any limitations to the power of filing a Washington State bankruptcy?
There are some exceptions to the automatic stay and it magic powers, but not many that impact the overwhelming majority of our clients. If a prior bankruptcy was filed within a year of another case, the debtor has to file a motion showing that the second case was filed in good faith. Child support collection is also not affected by the automatic stay.
So, in theory, you could still face some harassment and other legal issues on this front. But, in most cases our clients are easily able to start meeting their child support obligations once they stop paying all of the other unsecured creditors that are going to be wiped out in their bankruptcy.
The IRS can continue an audit, though not a collection, after a bankruptcy filing. Most government fines are considered punishment, not debt, so the automatic stay does not apply. For personal property (usually a car), a debtor has to file a reaffirmation agreement within 45 days of the meeting of creditors or the stay expires in a Chapter 7. These are just a few examples of the exceptions. In general, however, all attempts to collect a debt are stayed by the bankruptcy filing.
The automatic stay is broader than the bankruptcy discharge. Some debts, such as student loans, are not discharged, but the lender can not try to collect while the bankruptcy is active because the stay applies to them. This is especially significant in a Chapter 13 because the case lasts three to five years.
A Chapter 13 can reinstate a license suspended for fines as well, which is not possible in a Chapter 7 (though licenses suspended for an uninsured accident can often be reinstated in a Chapter 7 as soon as the case is filed). A Chapter 13 automatic stay is in effect even if the debtor is ineligible for a discharge in a Chapter 13 because he or she filed a Chapter 7 within four years.
If you have questions about your legal rights when it comes to creditor harassment and filing for bankruptcy, we want you to understand the bankruptcy laws and how they apply to your unique circumstances. Call now for a free, no obligation consultation. One of our debt relief and creditor harassment lawyers will be more than happy to discuss your case, whether you can qualify for bankruptcy protection, and then also explain how we can help.