Can my creditors keep calling me after my bankruptcy?

by Jay Fleischman, Esq.

March 24, 2009

When you file a bankruptcy case, your creditors must stop calling you.  They must stop garnishing your wages.  They must stop everything they are doing to take money or property from you.  This is because every bankruptcy case gives you – the debtor – the benefit of the “automatic stay.”  The automatic stay prohibits most creditors from taking most actions against you.

There are exceptions, especially for matters of police power and for matters involving marital obligations – in bankruptcy language – “domestic support obligations.”

However, for most people and most debts, bankruptcy provides real relief.

If creditors keep calling you, bothering you, garnishing your wages or taking other actions against you, call your lawyer right away.  If the creditors acted without knowing about your case, or innocently, you can make them stop.  If the creditors acted willfully, with knowledge of your case, not only can your lawyer make them stop, but your lawyer also can ask the bankruptcy court to give you actual and even punitive damages as well as attorneys fees.

In order to make sure you get the most advantage of the automatic stay, you must give your lawyer the right address to give your creditor notice.  In general, that’s the address where creditors tell you to pay your bills to them.  If you are careful to give creditors notice at the right place, you can make them stop bothering you.  And if they don’t you can make them pay dearly.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

Last modified: March 12, 2012