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What is the "automatic stay" in bankruptcy, and how does it work?

Many people with crushing debts loads try long and hard to deal with them alone, that is, without enlisting professional help to mitigate their adverse effects.

As we have noted in prior select posts for our readers in Arkansas and elsewhere, insuperable financial challenges can emerge from many fronts.

Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the so-called Great Recession, for example, from which the country is still digging out. Many others suffered demotions or were otherwise affected by new workplace realities that left them underemployed. High numbers of cash-strapped individuals have turned to credit cards to deal with urgent needs, such as to pay for food, medicine and shelter. Unexpected medical expenses and staggeringly large student loan exactions have brought individuals and families to the very brink of financial ruin.

Eventually, many people in such circumstances learn of the material benefits that might avail them through the bankruptcy process. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a lawful right conferred under federal and state law, and invoking the process can indeed bring immediate and meaningful relief to those who desperately need it.

One way that filers are immediately benefited is by being able to take advantage of the so-called "automatic stay" conferred under bankruptcy law. Filing stops all debt-related litigation that is in progress or being processed. Additionally, the stay brings to a halt any eviction or foreclosure action, stops wage garnishment and stays all creditor attempts to repossess personal property, such as an automobile.

An experienced bankruptcy and debt relief attorney can provide further information concerning the automatic stay and other bankruptcy-related benefits.

Source: Nolo.com, "How bankruptcy stops your creditors: the automatic stay," accessed August 27, 2014

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