How long is an automatic stay in bankruptcy?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Filing for bankruptcy protects a debtor by providing him with an automatic stay. An automatic stay means the debtor or debtors filing for bankruptcy are legally protected from creditors attempting to collect on what is owed to them. This automatic stay remains in effect, protecting the debtor, until the bankruptcy case is officially discharged, meaning it has finished going through court and is considered official. Should the case not make it to the level of discharge, i.e. if it is dismissed or thrown out for any reason, the automatic stay will be lifted at that time.

While the automatic stay will normally remain in effect for the duration of the bankruptcy, one exception to this rule occurs if you filed for bankruptcy at any time during the year prior to the current filing, and had that case dismissed before completion. If this is the case, your automatic stay on the current filing will only last 30 days. This is designed to prevent people from taking advantage of the system (i.e. – to stop people who don’t really intend to file for bankruptcy but who are simply using the automatic stay for protection).

In some cases, particularly those where the case may be taking longer than usual to complete or where a debt has particular urgency for some reason, a creditor can request that the judge lift the automatic stay for them, meaning that this one creditor would be legally allowed to pursue the debts they are owed. This can only be done with good reason and by a judge’s order.

The bankruptcy process is designed to protect you if your debts become more than you can cope with, however there are some legal complexities to the rules. To ensure your bankruptcy goes smoothly and that you get the best result possible, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer for advice. 

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption