When you file for bankruptcy, creditors are prohibited from calling you or pursuing collection activities such as repossession or foreclosure thanks to something called the “automatic stay.” The automatic stay is a kind of legal pause button while you go through the bankruptcy process. It’s needed because in bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee needs time to prioritize your creditors and your debts and take stock of your assets, and that is impossible to do if creditors are already claiming pieces of the pie.
When you file for bankruptcy, you are also protected from utility shut offs. This prohibition is similar to the automatic stay, but it’s a different part of the bankruptcy code. When you file for bankruptcy, the utility company is not allowed to cut your service for 20 days, even if you owe back payments. Before the 20 days have concluded, you need to provide the company with a letter of credit, a cash payment, or some other sort of assurance that you will pay future bills. If the company agrees to accept your assurance of payment, then your utilities will remain connected.
If you don’t have all your documents together to file bankruptcy, or if you are missing critical elements like your credit counseling course, you can file a petition to begin the bankruptcy process—and get the automatic stay and protection from shut-offs—as long as you file the remaining paperwork within 14 days.
Over the past 23 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.
About the Author
Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More