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The Automatic Stay

In 2012, a call from Wells Fargo ended up costing Anne Sessions even more than she owed the bank – a phony claim by the bank’s collection agent to the police stating that Ms. Sessions had threatened suicide led to an involuntary hospital visit for the 85-year-old, along with $1,055 in medical bills.

When creditors begin harassing you, the stress can be so overwhelming that you cannot get into the right state of mind to get your finances back in order. It is crucial that all debtors become familiar with the provisions of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which provides guidelines that creditors are obligated to follow as well as options for halting abusive practices by debt collectors.

If you are having difficulty making payments on your debts, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy.  For one thing, it will put a halt on creditors calling you because of an injunction that begins automatically the moment you file.  An automatic stay goes into effect immediately, providing relief for debtors by eliminating the stress associated with creditor collection efforts. In addition:

  • It stops creditor phone calls and other harassment, creditor lawsuits, wage garnishments, repossession, foreclosure and eviction, among other things. However, it does not stop actions to enforce child support, spousal maintenance or alimony, criminal proceedings or tax audits.
  • It gives a creditor and its collection agents notice that the continued pursuit of the debt — against you personally — will place them in violation of a court order.
  • A stay violation gives a debtor the right to sue the creditor and/or collection agency for damages, including punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs.

Our firm focuses on representing Florida debtors in bankruptcy. If you would like to explore your options in bankruptcy and obtain more information on whether all your debts would be covered under an automatic stay, contact our office.

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