One of the best aspects of a bankruptcy is what is called the automatic stay. When you file bankruptcy, your creditors are barred from contacting you about your debts or taking any type of collection action against you. This means they can not call you, send you letters, sue you in state court, garnish your wages or bank accounts or continue a garnishment that may already be in place. In addition they cannot repossess your car or foreclose on your house without permission from the bankruptcy court.
The automatic stay goes into affect immediately upon your filing a case. However, the creditor does have to know that you have filed. One thing we do for our clients is to contact any creditor who has a state court action pending or who has repossessed a car or is trying to foreclose on a house. We advise them of the bankruptcy filing and, if applicable, notify the state court also of the bankruptcy filing. In addition, when I file a Chapter 13 case, I normally provide my clients with a receipt from the bankruptcy court that has their case number on it. This allows them to advise any creditor that they have filed and provide the case number.