The automatic stay protects debtors from creditors as soon as the petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
When a debtor files a bankruptcy petition, the filing triggers an injunction against the continuance of any action by any creditor against the debtor or the debtor's property. The Automatic Stay Prohibits Creditors From: 1) Starting or Continuing Law Suits, 2) Making Collection Calls, 3) Repossessing Secured Assets, 4)Having Mortgage Foreclosure Sales, 5) Having In-Rem Property Tax Foreclosure Sales, 6) Garnishing Wages, and 7) Seizing Assets. The automatic stay does not stop Criminal Proceedings, or Actions for Child Support or Maintenace.
The stay remains in effect until a Bankruptcy Judge lifts the stay at the request of a creditor for cause, the debtor gets discharged, or an item of property is no longer property of the estate. When the debtor gets a discharge, the automatic stay is replaced by a permanent injunction prohibiting creditors from all of the actions prohibited by the automatic stay.