The stay doesn’t put a stop to every type of collection action, nor does it apply in every situation. Congress has determined that certain debts or proceedings are sufficiently important to “trump” the automatic stay. In these, collection actions can continue just as if you had never filed for bankruptcy.
In addition to the specific types of collection actions that can continue despite the stay, there are circumstances in which you can lose the protection of the stay through your own actions. These are described below as well.
(To learn more about the automatic stay, see our Bankruptcy's Automatic Stay area.)
The automatic stay does not prohibit the following types of actions from proceeding.
Almost all proceedings related to divorce or parenting continue unaffected by the automatic stay. These include actions to:
The IRS can continue certain actions, such as conducting a tax audit, issuing a tax deficiency notice, demanding a tax return, issuing a tax assessment, or demanding payment of an assessment.
The stay doesn’t prevent withholding from a debtor’s income to repay a loan from an ERISA-qualified pension (this includes most job-related pensions and individual retirement plans).
Even in circumstances where the stay would otherwise apply, you can lose its protection through your own actions. The stay may not protect you from collection efforts if:
In many cases, the automatic stay will stop a pending eviction. However, there are two exceptions:
To learn more about how the automatic stay affects evictions, including the exceptions, see Evictions and the Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy.