Deciding to file for bankruptcy is not always an easy choice. Many Americans become buried beneath medical expenses, mortgages, credit card debt and other bills and run to bankruptcy as a way to find freedom from their financial stress. Part of this stress may stem from harassing creditor calls, who in some cases, threaten people with wage garnishments, lawsuits and repossession of property if debtors fail to make payments. Once people file their Chapter 13 paperwork, however, it can release them from creditors’ attempts to collect past due debt while the bankruptcy is being processed.

An automatic stay is issued when people file for bankruptcy, making it illegal for creditors to contact people for any reason involving debt. When filling out Chapter 13 paperwork, the filer must submit a list of all creditors involved in the bankruptcy. Officials will send out a notice of bankruptcy to these creditors, who are then unable to contact you in an attempt to get late payments. During this time, creditors are unable to make telephone calls, send emails or texts, begin or continue lawsuits, garnish wages or make threats.

In some cases, debtors have filed lawsuits against creditors who continue to harass them even after a bankruptcy claim has been filed. In one instance, a loan center threatened to send a person to jail and another said they would take their children away if they did not make payments on their loan. This is illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, along with posing as a law firm or calling at all hours of the day and night.