Are your bills and finances beginning to spin out of control? You are not alone. Many Americans are facing an increasing pile of debt, and if you are among them, you may also be fielding calls from credit card companies and others wondering when they are going to collect what you owe. While these seemingly constant calls and other communications are often stressful, you may be able to stop them for the time being by filing for bankruptcy and initiating something called the automatic stay. 

Per LendingTree, the automatic stay is a period of time that begins as soon as you begin bankruptcy proceedings. While the automatic stay is in effect, you are going to get at least temporary relief from some of your creditors, meaning they are not lawfully able to attempt to collect what you owe during this period. Just what does the automatic stay offer protection against? 

Wage garnishments 

Once a creditor gets a judgment against you, you stand to lose as much as 25% of your paycheck to wage garnishment, depending on circumstances. While the automatic stay is in effect, however, wage garnishments at least temporarily cease. 

Utility disconnections 

If you are behind on your power bills to the point where your providers are threatening to disconnect your services, bankruptcy’s automatic stay offers you a degree of protection. Utility companies may not shut your services off while the automatic stay is in effect. 

Depending on the specifics of your situation, the automatic stay may also grant you temporary relief from foreclosure or eviction. It does not, however, absolve you of having to pay child support.