One of the most common concerns people have when filing for bankruptcy is whether their name will be made public. They often ask, "Do bankruptcies get filed in the newspaper?" or "Who will find out that I filed for bankruptcy relief?"
Individuals worry that their name will be printed in the newspaper or posted online after filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. They fear that their family, friends, employer, coworkers, and others will discover that they had to file for bankruptcy to eliminate debts.
To understand whether your bankruptcy case will be made public, it's important to know what a public record is and how it affects your bankruptcy case.
Do You Need to Worry That People Might Find Out From Newspaper About Your Bankruptcy Filing?
If you're concerned about your bankruptcy filing becoming public knowledge, there are a few things to keep in mind. While bankruptcy cases are a matter of public record, personal Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 cases are rarely published in local newspapers or other sources. So, unless your case directly affects someone, it's unlikely that they'll find out about it unless you tell them.
That being said, it's not impossible for someone to access your bankruptcy records if they're determined to do so. While you can't prevent someone from accessing your case, you can take comfort in the fact that it's not something that's commonly searched for. So, while it's important to be aware of the potential for your bankruptcy filing to become public knowledge, it's not something that you should overly worry about.
Should fear of people finding out about your bankruptcy case prevent you from seeking bankruptcy relief?
Don't worry if your loved ones find out that you filed for bankruptcy relief. While it may be a bit embarrassing at first, they likely have their own issues to deal with and will move on quickly. But, do you know if you qualify for bankruptcy relief and how much it may cost you? You can use our free Chapter 7 calculator below to estimate your eligibility and cost.
The benefits of filing for bankruptcy far outweigh any temporary embarrassment you may feel about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. With a bankruptcy discharge, you can eliminate most of your unsecured debt, such as medical bills, credit card debt, personal loans, some personal judgments, and old personal income tax debts. Depending on your situation, you could potentially eliminate all of your debts by filing for bankruptcy.
While business bankruptcy filings may be more common in the newspaper, personal bankruptcy may also show up in public records. Check out the image below for an example (source).
Now, let's talk about how public records work and how bankruptcy may show up in the news.
What Is Public Record?
Public record refers to information, files, and documents that are maintained by government entities and are available for public viewing. These records include a wide range of information, from probate estate records and criminal cases to civil lawsuits and real estate records. Being able to access public records is beneficial to individuals and organizations seeking to obtain information for various purposes, such as research or legal matters.
However, accessing public records is not always straightforward. There may be challenges in obtaining certain records due to privacy concerns or legal restrictions. Additionally, the process of obtaining public records may vary depending on the government entity and the type of record being requested. Despite these challenges, public records remain an important resource for individuals and organizations seeking to access information that is maintained by the government.
Are Bankruptcies Public Record?
Did you know that bankruptcy cases are public records? This means that anyone can access and view your bankruptcy filing, including the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements you file. Other documents filed in your case, such as creditor claims and court orders, are also available for public viewing. However, specific redacted information, such as your Social Security Number, is kept private.
While this may seem concerning, it's important to keep in mind that bankruptcy is a legal process that aims to provide a fresh start to those facing financial struggles. By making bankruptcy records public, it ensures transparency and accountability in the process. It also allows creditors to stay informed about the status of their claims.
That being said, it's understandable to have concerns about privacy. If you're worried about sensitive information being made public, you can work with a bankruptcy attorney to ensure that only necessary information is included in your filing. They can also help you understand what information will be made public and what steps you can take to protect your privacy.
Where Do Bankruptcies Show Up in Public Records?
When filing for bankruptcy, it's important to know that the case will be filed in a federal bankruptcy court, not your local county courthouse. This means that your bankruptcy case should not appear in your local county courthouse records or in newspapers that publish "Court News" or recent court cases based on county court records. However, it's worth noting that many newspapers do not print news from federal courts, including bankruptcy courts.
It's also important to understand that the bankruptcy court is required to notify specific parties about your bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy clerk of court will send bankruptcy notices to your creditors, co-signers, and other parties whose rights might be affected by your bankruptcy filing. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, a notice to withhold bankruptcy plan payments from your income (wage withholding orders) may also be sent to your employer.
Can You Look Up Bankruptcy Cases Online?
If you're looking for information on a federal court case, including a bankruptcy case, you can find it through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. PACER is an internet-based program that lets you search and locate federal court cases, and file documents in court cases if you have an account.
However, before you can look up bankruptcy cases on PACER, you need to register for a free account. But be aware that there are fees to access court records once you log in. If you don't want to pay fees, you can contact the bankruptcy court where the case was filed, provide information to the clerk of court, and pay fees for searches and copies of bankruptcy documents.
If you're just looking for basic case information, such as filing date, chapter of filing, and case status, you can use the Voice Case Information System (VCIS). VCIS is free to use and available 24/7.
Some services automatically notify creditors when a consumer who owes them money files for bankruptcy relief. However, individuals and newspapers generally don't pay for these services.
Do You Want Information About Filing Bankruptcy to Get Rid of Debts?
Are you struggling with debt? We offer a variety of resources and information to help you navigate your debt problems. Our library of free bankruptcy articles can provide you with valuable insights into how you can get rid of debt. Whether you're considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we've got you covered.
Need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer? We can help you find a local bankruptcy lawyer who offers free bankruptcy consultations. We understand that dealing with debt can be overwhelming, and we want to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Check out our calculator to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get an estimate of the costs involved. Let us help you take the first step towards financial freedom.