What do you mean “lift the bankruptcy stay?”

The automatic stay is a major advantage to filing for Bankruptcy. After you file no one take any action to collect a debt, enforce a judgment, garnish your wages, take your property or continue with a lawsuit unless they lift the bankruptcy stay. There are some exceptions such as the requirement to keep paying child support.

Who lifts the bankruptcy stay?

A mortgage holder or automobile lender might want to lift the bankruptcy stay so they can take some action to pick up a car or foreclose on a mortgage. In order to lift the stay, a motion must be filed in court and heard by a judge. With this process you get the opportunity to convince the court that the creditor is wrongfully trying to take your property, or you aren’t really behind in your payments, or any other defense you may have to the motion to lift the stay.

Most often happens in a chapter 13 when payments are behind.

This most often happens in a Chapter 13 if you fall behind in your payments to a secured creditor. They want to repossess the automobile or foreclose on the home. If you have been making your payments it is hard for them to do anything.

What can you do?

You may be able to restructure your bankruptcy plan payments to catch up. You may be able to get extra time to pay. If your requests are reasonable a judge will grant them.

If you have received a motion to lift the bankruptcy stay, be sure and talk to your attorney about it. You have to respond to the motion and ask for a hearing or the creditor will get what they ask for.

You’ll want to look at your situation carefully and decide if a change in plan will work or if there really isn’t a workable option. It might be that you can’t afford to keep that property and should consider letting it go.

L is also for:

Image credit: Leo Reynolds

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