Chapter 11 bankruptcyThe automatic stay stops most collection efforts during your bankruptcy. But the stay is not absolute – creditors can ask the bankruptcy court to remove the stay, called lifting the automatic stay. If successful, the creditor can continue its collection efforts against you.
Read on to learn how creditors can lift the stay, when they might ask the court to lift the stay, and more.
What Is the Automatic Stay?
The automatic stay prohibits creditors from collecting from you while your bankruptcy case is proceeding. It takes effect immediately upon filing the bankruptcy case (that’s why it’s called automatic), and it stops (stays) collection action on pre-bankruptcy debts. The intent is to give you a breathing spell from creditor harassment while you develop a plan to reorganize your finances.
The automatic stay is both broad and powerful. Since it only has a few narrow exceptions, creditors must tread very carefully during a bankruptcy case or risk violating the court’s injunction.
(To learn more about the automatic stay, see the articles in our Bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay area.)
Asking the Court to Remove the Stay: Motions to Lift the Stay
If a creditor wants to continue to collect from the debtor during the bankruptcy, it can seek permission directly from the court to do so, known as “lifting” or getting “relief from” the automatic stay. The creditor must do this by filing a “motion” with the court.
Motions to lift the stay are not as common as one would think. When a creditor files a motion to lift the automatic stay, the debtor is entitled to notice and a hearing. The burden is on the creditor to convince the bankruptcy court that there is a very good reason to lift the stay, and the court is predisposed to continue the bankruptcy protection. For instance, the court will not lift the stay when an unsecured debt will be included in the debtor’s discharge.
When a Court Might Lift the Automatic Stay
Can credit repair help you in New Mexico to achieve financial stability? redit counseling is the most complete solution, using various resources to help a consumer solve their money problems. It also requires the most work from the consumer and does not promise quick relief. Tools include budgeting, educational programs, counselors and a personalized plan. Credit counseling may, but does not always, lead to a Debt Management Plan where a consumer pays money into an account and the agency pays their debts from that account.
Consumers can find a list of government approved credit-counseling agencies in the United States at www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111.
Debt relief or settlement companies say they can reach out to one’s creditors and try to get them to lower a consumer’s balance, interest rates or fees so they pay less. Consumers can also try to do this themselves to avoid the fees that a company like this will charge them.
Debt consolidation companies offer consumers loans to pay off one’s debts in one lump sum. The low interest rates are tempting, but once a consumer goes through the application process they may find more fees. They may also be able to consolidate and pay off their debt through a second mortgage or home equity line of credit, but be very careful. As consumers are putting their home up as collateral, if they cannot make their payments, they could lose it.
Credit repair companies promise to clean up one’s credit report for a fee, but the chances they can do anything the consumer could not do on their own are slim. Consumers have the right to correct inaccurate information in their file, but nobody can remove accurate negative information. Only time and steady payments will repair one’s credit.
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