Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a repayment plan that allows you to catch up on debt by making monthly payments over three to five years to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee. However, your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may be dismissed before you complete your repayment plan for several reasons, including if you fail to make your monthly payments to your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee or if you miss a required court appearance. The dismissal of your bankruptcy case has several consequences -- including the loss of the protection of the automatic stay.
Immediately upon filing for bankruptcy, the automatic stay goes into effect. This protects you from harassment by prohibiting your creditors from contacting you directly and suing you while your bankruptcy case is active. Instead, after you file for bankruptcy, all creditors can only communicate with you through your attorney or the bankruptcy trustee. The automatic stay remains in effect from the date that you file for bankruptcy until your Chapter 13 case is completed, which is usually at the end of your repayment plan. If your case is dismissed, however, the automatic stay ceases to offer protection, as of the date of dismissal.