The moment you file for bankruptcy in Ohio, a powerful injunction called an automatic stay goes into effect. Once this is in place, you can no longer be barraged with harassing letters and telephone calls from creditors attempting to collect what is owed. You will no longer be threatened at home or at work by reminders that you can be sued, your wages can be garnished, and you may even lose your home or vehicle. Creditors will not be able to repossess, foreclose, sue, or pursue you for collection in any way and must go through the bankruptcy court and abide by their decisions.

The experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to the most hard-working and well-intentioned people. We offer a free consultation to examine your individual financial situation, your debts and your goals. Should bankruptcy be your best option, we will help you get on the path to financial solvency and find the best ways to make sure you can keep as many of your possessions as possible. And we make sure the automatic stay goes into effect to protect you from harassment.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email us today to set up your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

Why the Automatic Stay?

Bankruptcy laws are intended to give people whose debts have become unmanageable the chance to regroup and get a fresh financial start. The purpose of the automatic stay is to stop creditors from going after your assets and income until the bankruptcy court makes decisions as to whether your bankruptcy plan should be approved as filed or if the discharge should be granted.

The automatic stay provision allows you relief from harassment and also makes the bankruptcy process fairer for creditors, who will be treated equally by the bankruptcy court. This removes the incentive for them to try to collect as much as possible out of fear you will pay someone else first and there will be nothing left for them.

What the Law Says

The provisions of the automatic stay are explained in federal law 11 U.S.C. §362 and become effective as soon as your attorney files the bankruptcy petition. The law provides a long list of prohibited creditor behaviors. Creditors cannot sue you; any suits already in process when bankruptcy is filed have to stop; and creditors cannot collect on judgments from an earlier suit. They can’t repossess, seize, or create or enforce a lien against your property.

The automatic stay stops:

  • Foreclosure actions to provide you with the time you need to bring your payments current or negotiate a loan modification
  • Vehicle and personal property repossessions
  • Eviction proceedings and actions by landlords to possess rental property or collect damages without first getting permission from the court

In general, all civil court actions against you must stop, but the stay does not apply to criminal charges or domestic court proceedings, including:

  • Actions to determine paternity, for domestic support, or child custody or visitation
  • Actions for the dissolution of a marriage, except to determine division of property
  • Actions for domestic violence
  • Collection of a domestic support obligation from property not of the bankruptcy estate, such as retirement and pension accounts
  • Actions to garnish income for payment of a domestic support obligation under Ohio law
  • Actions to suspend a drivers license or professional license
  • Actions to report overdue support payments by a parent to a consumer reporting agency
  • Interception of tax refunds
  • Enforcement of a medical obligation as specified under title IV of the Social Security Act

There are also times when you may not be entitled to an automatic stay, such as if you file for bankruptcy multiple times in a short period. For example, if you file for bankruptcy and you had a previous case that was dismissed within the past year, you will not receive only receive the stay for 30 days. You must file a Motion to Extend the stay to be protected beyond that 30 days.

What Can Creditors do?

Creditors can motion the court to get the automatic stay lifted. Creditors must bear the burden and expense of proving why they should get relief from the stay. The court may grant relief from stay if the creditor is not adequately protected, if there is evidence that a debtor may try to hide, steal, or damage the property in question, or if the creditor proves that the property won’t matter for the purposes of the bankruptcy.

What if Creditors Keep Harassing?

If creditors violate the stay and continue harassing you, the court will order sanctions on the creditor for violating your protection. Additionally, if the creditor violates the stay by collecting an asset, the court will order them to restore the property. This may include returning a repossessed vehicle, paying back garnished wages, or stopping a lawsuit or home foreclosure. In addition, the debtor may receive actual and punitive damages, including costs of attorney fees and court costs to fight the violation.

Contact Us For Help, Answers, And Peace Of Mind

While you can file bankruptcy without an attorney, the bankruptcy code is complicated and filled with extremely complex procedures and rules. Making mistakes can lead to your case being dismissed by the court without a discharge, missing out on exemptions, and losing property that you might have been able to keep.

The seasoned and compassionate Ohio bankruptcy lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer are dedicated to helping you through the maze of personal bankruptcy. Explore and discuss specifics regarding automatic stays with the help of our attorneys who can evaluate your particular financial circumstances. A Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer will point you in the right direction and give you the information you need to help you decide what steps to take.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email us today to set up your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

We provide a wide array of debt relief options including Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 debt reorganization, debt settlement negotiations with creditors, and foreclosure defense. Check out this page for more information!

Attorney Tom Fesenmyer

Attorney Thomas M. Fesenmyer (Tom) is dedicated to helping his clients solve their financial issues in a timely and cost-effective manner. Tom has personally filed several thousand cases and has the expertise to achieve immediate results for his clients, including stopping Foreclosures, Repossessions, Wage Garnishments, Law Suits, Utility Shut-offs, Creditor Harassment, Bank Attachments, and Pay-Day Loans. Tom’s goal for all of his clients is asset protection and debt elimination.[ Attorney Bio ]


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