The automatic stay is one of the major protections that bankruptcy law gives to debtors. When it is in effect, creditors are prohibited from taking steps to collect. This keeps things preserved in place and does not let one creditor jump ahead of the other. It also is a measure of fairness for the debtor, who has taken steps towards a fresh start in life.

The automatic stay is the rule in all bankruptcy cases. It acts like a temporary restraining order to make creditors wait until the proceedings unfold, and it moves their debt collection efforts into the court. There are very limited exceptions to the automatic stay rule. If the value of a property with a lien is worth less than the debt and there is no equity, the lienholder may foreclose. There is also a limited exception when the debtor is in the divorce process.

Creditors will need to have a persuasive reason that can convince the judge to lift the stay since it generally a disfavored remedy. It is the bankruptcy court judge who makes the decision about whether the stay can be lifted, and the decision is not made by a judge in another court. They must also make sure that they can document the fact that they have not violated the stay because the consequences can be severe.

Debtors who are seeking a fresh start from the debt cycle in which they are trapped should seek out a bankruptcy-personal lawyer for help with the process. More people are filing for bankruptcy these days as the economic cycle makes it progressively harder for households. The bankruptcy process can be technical, and an attorney might help their client navigate the bankruptcy from start to finish as they seek to become free of the crushing debt burden that they face.