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  • Vernon Office


    244 State Hwy 94
    Vernon, New Jersey 07462

  • Wayne Office


    73 Mountainview Blvd
    Wayne, New Jersey 07470



  • Pompton Lakes Office


    58 Colfax Avenue #1
    Pompton Lakes, New Jersey 07442

  • Hackensack Office


    41 Main Street
    Suite 2
    Hackensack, New Jersey 07601



  • Nutley Office


    345 Centre Street
    Suite 2
    Nutley, New Jersey 07110



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  • Blog >
  • Debtor Beware: The Bankruptcy Automatic Stay Doesn’t Stop Everything

Debtor Beware: The Bankruptcy Automatic Stay Doesn’t Stop Everything

One of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy protection is the automatic stay, which stops most creditors in their tracks. It prevents filing or proceeding with lawsuits to collect judgments, to recover debts, to foreclose on your home or to evict you. It also blocks actions to repossess your vehicles, disconnect your utilities or garnish your wages, as well as other attempts to collect or take action on a debt without the bankruptcy court’s permission.

However, there are limitations on what an automatic stay can do. If you’ve filed a prior bankruptcy less than one year before, the automatic stay will only last for 30 days. If you filed two prior bankruptcies in the past year, you won’t be entitled to an automatic stay. You can still ask the court to impose a stay, but the court will grant your request only if you demonstrate that you’ve been acting in good faith.

Once in effect, the automatic stay doesn’t apply to every debt or to every action that can be taken against you. The following processes, among others, can continue:

  • Civil actions involving issues of paternity, alimony, child support, child custody or visitation, divorce (not including the division of marital property) or domestic violence
  • Collection of alimony or child support
  • Withholding, revoking, suspending or restricting of drivers’ licenses
  • Collection of taxes
  • Eviction from expired non-residential real estate leases
  • Criminal prosecutions relating to the debt, unless the debt repayment issue is separated from the criminal charges
  • Government regulatory cases, including collection of fines and penalties

There are many other exceptions to the automatic stay that apply in particular situations.

Even where the automatic stay applies to a debt or to a creditor’s action, the court may grant relief from the stay for good cause. Upon a creditor’s request, the court may lift the stay if it finds that the bankruptcy filing was part of a scheme to fraudulently transfer property securing a debt or that lifting the stay is necessary to prevent irreparable harm to property.

The Law Offices of James C. Zimmerman can analyze your financial situation and give you reliable information on how an automatic stay can protect you during a bankruptcy. Call us at 973-764-1633 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at any of our five offices, conveniently located in Vernon, Wayne, Pompton Lakes, Hackensack and Nutley, New Jersey.