It doesn’t take long to get in over your head financially. If you carry a balance on your credit cards, finance your vehicles and have a mortgage, those payments likely consume a significant portion of your pay every month. Getting into a car accident, suddenly falling ill or losing your job could mean going from making ends meet to drowning in debt.

Once you have missed a few payments, the creditors will start calling. They may call your home and your place of work. They will also probably send you letters with threatening language. In some cases, they may even show up at your home in an attempt to repossess your vehicle or serve you with notice of a pending lawsuit. Bankruptcy protections may help stop creditor collection efforts.

Bankruptcy protections include an automatic stay

As soon as you file for bankruptcy protection, whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you receive what is known as an automatic stay. This is legal protection against ongoing collection efforts by your creditors. Once you inform creditors that you have filed bankruptcy, they should no longer call you, send you letters or otherwise pursue these debts.

If your home is in the early stages of foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy can halt and postpone those proceedings as well. The same may be true of vehicle repossessions and pending lawsuits that seek to garnish your wages. After it has become clear that you will not be able to meet all of your debt-related financial obligations, bankruptcy is often your best option for seeking a financial fresh start.

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