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General Nature and Scope of the Automatic Stay

Learn about the automatic stay, its role in the bankruptcy case, and the general types of collection activity that the automatic stay prohibits.


The automatic stay, set forth in Bankruptcy Code § 362, is a self-executing statutory injunction that takes effect immediately when a bankruptcy petition is filed. With exceptions, the automatic stay prohibits acts to collect or enforce prepetition debt. The automatic stay gives the debtor a respite, however brief, from dunning, harassment, lawsuits, foreclosures, and other collection activity. Additionally, the automatic stay affords the bankruptcy court time to assert jurisdiction over the...