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Bankruptcy FAQ: What is the automatic stay? Filing a bankruptcy petition automatically stays (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor's property. As long as the automatic stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments without the prior approval of the bankruptcy court. There are, however, several exceptions to the automatic stay, the most common being criminal proceedings, collection of certain alimony and child support obligations, and governmental actions to protect the public. The automatic stay is temporary and will end when a discharge is granted or denied, when the case is dismissed or closed, or if the bankruptcy court grants a creditor relief from the automatic stay. Visit http://albany-ny.tullylegal.com/legal-services/bankruptcy-law for more legal information and assistance in Bankruptcy.