Automatic stay puts an immediate halt to any impending legal action, and most actions by creditors or collection agencies. An automatic stay is a very strong shield that is put up around you once you have filed bankruptcy to stop your creditors from having any sort of contact with you. For some, it provides a compelling reason on its own to file for bankruptcy.
Automatic stay takes effect immediately once you have filed bankruptcy. Creditors must stop any and all communication with you including phone calls, letters, emails, or text messages. Once you have filed for bankruptcy and your creditors receive notification of the bankruptcy, it is illegal for them to contact you in any way. Should a creditor not cease contacting you, they may face penalties and fines from the court.
There are some collection actions that are not stopped by automatic stay. This include actions such as audits by the IRS, the collection of alimony or support from a former spouse, any sort of criminal proceeding, or the withholding of money to repay loans from pensions.