Bankruptcy is a legal process which allows a person (a "debtor") who owes more money than he or she can currently pay to either: (1) reorganize the debtor's budget to repay a portion of their debts over time; or (2) to liquidate and have most debts forgiven ("discharged"). After a debtor has filed a case (a "petition"), creditors must stop all collection efforts against the debtor for a period of time, unless they get permission from the bankruptcy court to continue. This protection from collection efforts is referred to as the "automatic stay." A husband and wife may file a joint petition or individual petitions. Generally speaking, there are 2 types of bankruptcies for most consumers to consider, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.